ND Women’s Tennis
Irish earn first round bye, await winner of Pittsburgh, Florida State
Hunter McDaniel | Wednesday, April 22, 2015
After a marathon of a regular season in which the Irish travelled all across the country, they now turn their focus to two postseason tournaments, the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and the NCAA Tournament, the first of which starts Thursday afternoon in Cary, North Carolina.
Since Notre Dame (14-9, 8-6 ACC) finished conference play in seventh place, they earned a bye into the second round of the tournament and will await the winner of Wednesday afternoon’s match between 15-seed Pittsburgh (2-17, 0-14) and 10-seed Florida State (13-10, 6-8).
Coming off three consecutive losses within the conference, Irish head coach Jay Louderback said he does not think this will hurt his team.
“We think that even in the matches we’ve lost recently, we’ve been playing really well,” Louderback said. “We didn’t play well against Clemson. That’s really the only match all year where we didn’t compete well at all.
“We had won a lot of tight 4-3 matches, and the other two losses were similar. The Duke match, even though it finished at 4-1, was a lot closer than that and was really tight, like a lot of the matches we’ve played in all year. Even though we lost a few recently, I don’t think our confidence is shaken at all. The Duke match actually probably helped our confidence, after our poor showing against Clemson.”
The Irish have already faced both of their potential opponents already this season, Louderback was quick to point out.
“We’ll play the winner of the [Florida State/Pittsburgh] match first, and we won both of those 4-3 on the road,” Louderback said. “We figure which ever one wins it’ll be a tough match, especially since we’ve seen them both already.”
Looking back on the regular season, the doubles point has made a big difference on the outcome of Notre Dame’s matches in ACC play, and with the tournaments approaching Louderback made it clear this has not been lost on his team.
“We put quite a bit of time into singles recently, but we’ve been struggling in doubles in recent matches,” Louderback said. “This week we’re putting more time into doubles. In tournament play, that doubles point seems to be even more important, so we’re working on making sure we have a chance at grabbing the early lead with the doubles point.”
A season ago, the Irish were victorious in their first round matchup against Boston College before falling to Miami in their second match of the tournament. They will look to start off strongly once more this year before making a deep run and competing for an ACC championship over the weekend.
The Irish will commence their part in the ACC tournament Thursday when they will take on either Florida State or Pittsburgh. All matches through the championship Sunday will take place at Cary Tennis Park in Cary, North Carolina.