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ND Women’s Tennis

Miller shines for Notre Dame

| Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Few athletes are able to join a program as a freshman and have an instant impact on the court. However, freshman Allison Miller has been a significant part of the success the Irish have had this year.

During her high school career at Rivers Academy in Alpharetta, Georgia, Miller was a four-time USTA National Open champion. Ranked as a five-star recruit coming out of high school last year, she drew interest from several schools. In the end, however, Miller said choosing Notre Dame was an easy decision and her reasons still hold true to her experience as a member of the team today.

Freshman Allison Miller reaches for a backhand in a 6-1 loss to  Stanford on Feb. 6 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Michael Yu | The Observer

Freshman Allison Miller reaches for a backhand in a 6-1 loss to
Stanford on Feb. 6 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

“The girls on the team here are really special,” Miller said. “Everyone just tries to get along. They’re really, really good girls, and there’s just no extra drama that I have to deal with, which is perfect. I also have a lot of respect for [Irish head coach Jay Louderback], and the academics around here are unbelievable, too.”

Upon joining the team, Miller said she was able to make the transition from high school to college tennis fairly smoothly. She said her ability gave her the confidence to be able to step up immediately.

“I’d say the easiest part about the transition was that I already had enough skill to play,” Miller said. “I didn’t feel like the level was over my head when I got here, which was nice. I could just come in and compete right away.”

Even still, Miller said the transition has not been without its hurdles. One aspect of college tennis that challenged her was having others determine her training schedule, Miller said.

“The toughest part has been adjusting to the different routine,” Miller said. “I had a lot of autonomy in high school over my own training, so it’s been different for me to be a part of a large group. But I try to practice on my own, too, when I can.”

Since the start of the season, Miller has made an instant impact on the court.  Playing mostly at No. 5 singles, she has compiled a record of 14-6 for the Irish, including a record of 9-3 in conference play. Despite her success, Miller said she has just been happy to have the opportunity to play this year.

“Playing so many matches has been great,” Miller said. “I love playing, and so I’m really thankful I’ve been healthy and been in all the matches.”

In addition to playing singles, Miller has also participated in doubles play with junior Julie Vrabel. She and Vrabel have compiled a record of 10-7 this season at No. 2 doubles. Miller said she has really enjoyed playing with Vrabel and she believes the two of them are a good fit as partners.

“Julie and I are a great combination,” Miller said. “I’m really lucky to get to play with her. We get along really well on the court. She’s more serious, and I’m more silly, so I think [Louderback] was really smart to have her keep me in check out there. Also, she has a fantastic backhand, and I prefer my forehand, so our games complement each other well too.”

Now, as the end of the regular season approaches, Miller and the rest of the Irish are preparing for the postseason. Miller said she believes the team is poised for a strong playoff run.

“I think we can have a great postseason this year,” Miller said. “Last year, the team made it to the round of 16 at the NCAA championships and it would be great to see that happen again.”

Furthermore, Miller said that she is very excited for the future of the team and her next three years as a member of it.

“Next year looks really bright for us,” Miller said. “We are going to return all of our starters and we will also have [freshman] Brooke Broda back, who’s a real winner. She’s been hurt this year. Our team really loves tennis, and we have the passion to make some great things happen.”

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About Benjamin Padanilam

As The Observer's Editor-in-Chief, Ben is a senior in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) who is pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics as well. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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