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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame overcomes Virginia Tech in close matchup

| Monday, April 3, 2017

Friday, Notre Dame defeated Virginia Tech 4-3 in an ACC road match at Burrows-Burrleson Tennis Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

In the singles competition, sophomore Rachel Chong won her match for the Irish (16-3, 7-2 ACC) in straight sets 7-5, 6-0, while senior Mary Closs also emerged victorious 6-4, 6-2. Freshman Zoe Spence came up just short in the first set of her match 7-6 (10-8), but she was able to bounce back and win the final two sets 6-3, 6-1. Junior Brooke Broda dropped the first set of her match 6-1 and recovered in the second set, winning 7-6 (9-7). However, she lost the final set 7-6 (7-3), ultimately losing the match. Junior Allison Miller lost her first set 6-3 but bounced back to win the second set 6-1. In the third and decisive set, Miller dropped a 6-1 decision. Senior Monica Robinson came up short in her match 6-3, 6-1.

Irish freshman Zoe Spence hits a forehand during Notre Dame’s 5-2 win over Purdue on Feb. 22 at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Michael Yu | The Observer

Irish freshman Zoe Spence hits a forehand during Notre Dame’s 5-2 win over Purdue on Feb. 22 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

In the doubles competition, the No. 2 pair of Broda and Miller won a close 7-6 (7-4) match, while the No. 3 pair of senior Jane Fennelly and Spence also came out on top by a score of 7-5. The No. 1 pair of Closs and Robinson dropped a 6-2 decision.

Irish head coach Jay Louderback said he liked how his team adapted to playing indoors.

“We played indoors at Virginia Tech (7-9, 0-7 ACC) and their indoor courts are very fast and we were worried going in about playing on fast courts,” Louderback said. “I thought our team handled going in on fast courts really well. We won the doubles points, so we started off 1-0, and then we got down in almost every singles match and did a really good job of coming back. We had three matches where we lost the first set and came back and split and went into the third set. We won only one of those three sets, but it was key to keep the match going. I just felt like we did a good job of adjusting to playing indoors on a fast court.”

Louderback said he has liked the improvement he has seen from his team’s doubles play.

“We’ve been focusing quite a bit really the entire semester on our doubles and I feel like it’s payed off,” Louderback said. “We’re playing better doubles right now and I think that’s one of the things we’re working on. Also from here on out, most of our matches will probably be outdoors, so we’re working on trying to get out and play in the elements a lot more than we have in the past. So we’ll practice outdoors now a lot more than we have in the past, just so we can get used to the elements outside.”

Louderback also said he liked how the back end of his team’s singles lineup played.

“During the last couple of matches, we haven’t really won as much as we did earlier in the year in the bottom of our lineup, the four, five and six spots, so it was really good to see our bottom carry us, as those three all won,” Louderback said. “Those were the three singles matches we won. So I really felt like our depth helped us a lot this last match.”

Notre Dame will be back in action Friday afternoon as they host conference-foe Duke at Courtney Tennis Center, beginning 4 p.m. The Irish will then host No. 4 North Carolina on Sunday.

Louderback knows how difficult these next few matches will be for the Irish.

“We’ve got two tough matchups coming up, probably the two best teams in the ACC will be here this weekend, North Carolina and Duke,” Louderback said. “We’re very excited to play the top two teams, and right now we’re just getting ready for both of them. That’s our big thing is having a chance to play the top two teams and going out and playing loose and I feel like we have a chance to go out and do well this weekend.”

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