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ND Women’s Tennis

ND opens up spring season ranked in top 20

| Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Notre Dame kicks off its 2015 season this weekend when both Western Michigan and Detroit come to South Bend.

The Irish open this year’s campaign ranked 20th in the ITA poll after finishing 19th last year. Despite starting this season against non-conference competition, Irish coach Jay Louderback said the schedule will heat up when the team faces its ACC opponents.

Irish sophomore Monica Robinson connects on a shot during Notre Dame's 4-3 win over Indiana on Feb. 2.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish sophomore Monica Robinson connects on a shot during Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Indiana on Feb. 2.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Louderback said. “The ACC is loaded again this year. We’ll have the chance to see how we stack up against some good opponents, and it gives us a chance to move up. But I think [20th is] probably where we should be ranked at the beginning of the season.”

As a conference, the ACC is among the best in the country, with seven teams appearing in the top 20, including No. 2 Duke and No. 4 North Carolina.

“The thing that’s gonna be different for us this year is that we have a much more spread out schedule,” Louderback said. “We started last year playing the six teams ranked ahead of us in six consecutive matches. … We play all of those teams at different times throughout [this] year. Having it spread out is good for us.”

Initially, the team had only scheduled one match for this weekend against Western Michigan, but adding a second against Detroit should help the team gauge its position nationally before entering ACC play, Louderback said.

“We should get a number of our healthy players in, get some experience,” he said. “… The big thing is just to see where we are after Christmas break. The team did a good job of staying in shape over the break, hitting every day. So it’ll be good for us just to see where we’re at to start the semester.”

The doubles pairing of junior Quinn Gleason and sophomore Monica Robinson lead the Irish, ranking 16th in the country in doubles. The tandem took second place at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships in October, while Robinson advanced to the semifinals in the singles competition of the meet.

The Irish will face their first test of the season when they take on Western Michigan and Detroit this Saturday at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively. Both matches will take place at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

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