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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame falls to Michigan for first loss of season

| Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sunday afternoon, No. 19 Notre Dame fell to visiting No. 15 Michigan, 5-2, at Eck Tennis Pavilion, losing its first match of the season.

Junior Quinn Gleason said the Irish (2-1) were disappointed to fall at home so early in the season, but also kept the loss in perspective.

“We were definitely disappointed that we lost, but I think we’re all optimistic coming out of it, because Michigan is a great team and we were right there,” Gleason said.

Irish junior Julie Vrabel prepares to unleash a shot during the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 26. Vrabel went 1-1 in doubles play on the day and lost her only singles match, Rosie Biehl | The Observer

Irish junior Julie Vrabel prepares to unleash a shot during the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 26. Vrabel went 1-1 in doubles play on the day and lost her only singles match.

This clash of top-20 teams was the first of the season for the Irish. The squad started strong in doubles, as the No. 16 duo of Gleason and sophomore Monica Robinson upset No. 10 senior Emina Bektas and freshman Alex Najarian, 6-4.

The pairing of sophomores Mary Closs and Jane Fennelly also came up with a victory, giving Notre Dame the doubles point of the competition. They defeated freshman Mira Ruder-Hook and sophomore Annie Wierda in the No. 3 doubles spot, 6-3.

Michigan (4-0) bounced back strong in the singles competition, however, as the Wolverines won five of the six total matches. Only Fennelly, competing at the No. 6 spot, came away with the win, defeating senior Kristen Dodge, 6-3, 6-2.

“I was really proud of Jane Fennelly this weekend, as she won both her singles and doubles matches,” Gleason said. “She has been working really hard, so I’m excited to see that her effort is really paying off. She’s a very solid [No. 6] singles player, and I’m confident she’ll have a great season.”

Other than Fennelly, however, the rest of the Irish struggled against a strong Michigan squad. Gleason fell to Bektas, ranked 18th in country, at the No. 1 singles spot, Robinson fell to No. 23 junior Ronit Yurovsky in the second slot and senior Julie Vrabel lost to No. 38 Sarah Lee at No. 3.

“While the score was 5-2, a lot of the singles matches were close,” Gleason said. “I think getting the doubles point was huge for us because Michigan has a very strong doubles lineup.”

Three singles matches went to a third set, and two sets went all the way to a tiebreaker.

The road ahead does not get any easier for the Irish, as they welcome No. 8 Stanford on Friday. The Cardinal are the second of three top-35 matchups for Notre Dame in a row.

“This week, it will be important for us to focus on the positives from the match with Michigan,” Gleason said. “Stanford is an incredible team and I think we’re all really excited that we get the opportunity to play them, at home especially.

“One advantage we have over Stanford this weekend is that we’re playing indoors. On Friday it will be important to capitalize on the quickness of our indoor courts at the Eck.”

Notre Dame will welcome Stanford to Eck Tennis Pavilion at 5 p.m. Friday, as it looks to rebound in one of its final matches before ACC play starts later this month.

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