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ND WOMEN’S TENNIS: Irish look to dominate with a No. 1 seeding

Ann Loughery | Friday, April 22, 2005

After weeks of preparing for the postseason, the No. 26 Irish are finally taking off their training wheels and taking on the Big East Championship.

For the ninth time in 10 years, the Irish (12-9) have secured a No. 1 seed as the only nationally ranked team in the conference. The team’s impressive seeding has earned it a bye in the first round of the Big East.

“I think the No. 1 seeding shows the tradition we have in Notre Dame tennis,” coach Jay Louderback said. “I think it says a lot about the type of players we have and the schedule we play.”

However, despite their established presence at the top of the seedings, the Irish aren’t underestimating any of their opponents.

“Everyone wants to beat Notre Dame,” senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly said. “It’s always hard coming in and knowing you’re the team that everyone’s gunning to beat.”

Fourth-seeded St. John’s (8-3) will be the first team looking to defeat the talent-laden Irish. Notre Dame’s will take on St. John’s in its first match of the tournament Friday at 9 a.m. at the University of South Florida in the semifinals.

St. John’s defeated West Virginia (15-7) this morning, 4-1, after taking an early 1-0 advantage in the match following doubles. The Red Storm claimed victories at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles and secured the victory after three singles matches, as tournament play dictates teams play to four points.

After facing St. John’s, Louderback expects the team’s next opponent will be second-seeded Boston College. The last time the two teams met, Notre Dame shut out the Eagles, 7-0. The Irish secured wins across the board in both singles and doubles.

As the Irish head into Friday’s meet against St. John’s, they hope this first match of the tournament will be the start of a successful and storied post season.

“We’ve had a tough schedule all season, so I think that should help us peak,” Louderback said. “We’ll be playing some good tennis this weekend.”