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ND Women’s Tennis

ND to travel for matchup with Pitt on road

| Thursday, January 26, 2017

Notre Dame is set to take on conference opponent Pitt this Sunday at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Club in Pittsburgh. The match will be the squad’s first road match of 2017.

Irish head coach Jay Louderback said his team is expecting Pitt (1-0) to hit the ball a certain way.

“Almost their entire team is made up of big hitters,” Louderback said. “They hit the ball really hard, and we played there a couple of years ago and had a tight 4-3 match with them. The courts they play on are very fast, so they are a tough team to play, especially indoors. They are a very good team indoors. So we are expecting to look at a lot of balls coming back at us because they like to hit so big. So we are working on that type of game a lot this week in practice.”

Louderback said the Irish (2-0) have several practice tactics to prepare them for the way Pittsburgh hits the ball.

“We do different things in practice,” Louderback said. “Like in doubles, when they have to play against someone who serves differently, they move in and serve really close so they get used to the ball getting to them faster, and we work quite a bit on our defense and slowing the ball up this week to get ready for them. We also have some kids on our team that hit the ball hard, too, so it helps for us to play against them in practice.”

Irish senior Monica Robinson hits a forehand during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Indiana on Feb. 20 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Irish senior Monica Robinson hits a forehand during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Indiana on Feb. 20 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

The Irish are coming off two dominant 7-0 wins at home over Western Michigan and Wright State in their first two matches of the season. The Irish were powered by singles wins from senior Monica Robinson, junior Allison Miller, freshman Zoe Spence and freshman Bess Waldram in both matches. Senior Mary Closs, junior Brooke Broda, senior Jane Fennelly and sophomore Rachel Chong also recorded wins on the day.

Sunday’s match against the Panthers will also be the team’s first ACC matchup of the spring schedule. Louderback said his squad knows the importance of getting a win in its first conference test.

“It’s always big,” Louderback said. “Like last year in our 14 conference matches, nine of them ended 4-3 to win or lose. So we know every match we play in the ACC is going to be a tough match. We would love to start off with a win, especially playing against them on the road.”

Louderback said his message to his team is to play hard and compete well.

“Our big thing is just going out and playing our game,” Louderback said. “Also just competing well against them. We’re seeing some balls coming hard in practice.”

The Irish and Panthers will get underway Sunday at 10 a.m.

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