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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish look to make strides this fall

| Wednesday, September 7, 2016

This season, Notre Dame begins its fall practices and invitationals looking to build on last year’s successes.

“We had a really tight match with chances to beat UCLA in the first round of the NCAAs, so I think that’s something we really took a good feeling away from that loss knowing we were right there with UCLA,” Irish head coach Jay Louderback said. “I think that’s something that’s going to really help us as we go into this year.”

Close matches were a theme throughout the previous spring season for the Irish, and that will be a motivating factor for the team as they move ahead, Louderback added.

“Of our 14 conference matches, nine of them were 4-3 either winning or losing, and all the other matches were all 5-2, so every match we played, we were right there with them,” Louderback said. “I think our kids are looking forward to playing some of those teams again this year.”

With these difficult, close losses fresh in the team’s mind, Louderback said he believes it is the group’s work ethic that will set them apart this season.

“I feel like that’s our biggest strength. The kids are working hard not just on the court but in conditioning, and they’re doing everything to be ready for the spring,” Louderback said. “Right now, our main thing is to make sure that we’re physically in shape for the spring. Our main goal is to be healthy and ready and ready to compete when the spring comes along.”

Irish junior Brooke Broda returns a ball during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Indiana at Eck Tennis        Pavilion on Feb. 20.  Notre Dame reached the first round of the NCAA tournament last season.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Irish junior Brooke Broda returns a ball during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Indiana at Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 20. Notre Dame reached the first round of the NCAA tournament last season.

As always with the beginning of a new season, adjustments must be made, and this season is no different with the loss of two senior doubles players from last year’s team, according to Louderback.

“We’re going to probably have all new doubles teams because two of our seniors who graduated were in the doubles lineup, so there’s a good chance of having three new doubles teams,” Louderback said. “So that’s a big thing, us working and seeing what are good pairs to put together and who will compete well together. That’s probably our biggest thing right now — looking for our doubles teams.”

Louderback is optimistic, however, about this year’s team’s ability to pick up slack left over from last year’s seniors, he added.

“I feel like our group of freshmen that have come in have really good doubles skills plus our kids returning,” Louderback said. “All of those players will have a chance to fill in. We should be fine, I feel really good about what I’m going to see tomorrow.”

With players and coaches alike excited about the beginning of fall practice, Louderback said he welcomes the new atmosphere that accompanies each new season.

“It always makes it more enjoyable for me when you have new kids coming in,” Louderback said. “As always, we’ll miss our seniors, but it helps you revive with new kids coming in. They come in and everything’s new to them, and they love everything.”

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