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ND Women’s Tennis: Buck returns for post-season play against UIC

Chris Hine | Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Thanks to a 25-3 record in dual-match play this season, Notre Dame on Tuesday earned the No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, which begins May 12.

The Irish will face Horizon League champion Illinois-Chicago in the first round at the Courtney Tennis Center.

South Florida upset Notre Dame 4-3 in the finals of the Big East tournament April 22, but Irish coach Jay Louderback said his team has moved on following the loss and is getting ready for the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re done. They played well against us and they won at every spot they could,” Louderback said. “It’s over and [junior] Brook Buck is back healthy, playing singles for us.”

Buck, who normally occupies the No. 6 singles spot, did not play singles for the past month due to an injury. But with the time off since their last match, Buck and the rest of the Irish have had time to heal and prepare for May 12.

“We took the weekend off and we’ve been outdoors lately, too,” Louderback said. “That’s a key for us, we’ve been hoping we can get outdoors the rest of the time before regionals.”

Notre Dame has knocked off Illinois-Chicago in each of the teams’ past seven meetings. The winner of the first round match will take on either Michigan or Colorado in the second round. The Irish defeated the Wolverines 6-1 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 16 but have yet to face Colorado. Whoever emerges victorious from the second round match will head to Athens, Ga., to play in the round of 16.

In their 28 matches this season, the Irish faced 15 qualifiers in the 64-team field and went 12-3 against these opponents. At the ITA National Indoor Tournament in February, the Irish faced three of these top-tier opponents in consecutive days, going 2-1. In the opening round, Notre Dame knocked off Clemson 5-2 and defeated Northwestern 4-3 in the semifinals before falling to Georgia Tech 4-2 in the finals. On April 13, a banged up Notre Dame squad, playing without Buck and freshman Cosmina Ciobanu in singles, lost to the Wildcats 5-2.

Last season, the Irish entered the tournament as the No. 2 overall seed and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Miami 4-0.