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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish set for tough stretch

Chris Michalski | Thursday, March 5, 2009

Before Notre Dame heads south to Florida and Georgia for spring break, the No. 3 Irish will host Iowa (6-5) Friday at 3 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Starting with this match, the Irish (11-1) will have four matches in eight days during spring break. The team will also face South Florida (1-5) in Tampa, No. 4 Duke (9-1) in Orlando, and finally, No. 8 Georgia Tech (5-4) in Atlanta.

But first and foremost, the team must face Iowa, a match not to be over-looked amidst the high rankings and the allure of Florida sunlight.

“We played them outside at their place last year,” senior Kelcy Tefft said. “And they have the core of their team back.”

After the match against the Hawkeyes, the Fighting Irish will play South Florida Wednesday.

“South Florida is always tough for us,” Tefft said. “We go down to their place and it’s usually pretty hot and humid, when we haven’t played outside at all.”

In facing two more top-ten teams within a week, after just defeating two top-25 teams last weekend, Notre Dame will not receive much of a break, despite the nice weather. Duke is playing especially well, having won at No. 1 Northwestern this past Saturday.

“Duke is always great,” Tefft said. “And they are very, very good this year.”

Leading the Irish into this match will be Tefft, ranked No. 31 for singles play and ranked second in doubles, along with freshman Kristy Frilling.

While four matches in eight days over a break may seem excessive, the Irish are accustomed to such tests.

“We just like to get outside and play some matches. Every year we know we are going to have to play over break,” Tefft said.

But while the trip south could carry heavy implications for the team’s season, the break will not be all competition.

“It is really good for us to get in three outdoor matches over break, as long as we get to see the sun and it is warmer than twenty degrees,” Teftt said.

Notre Dame begins spring break Friday, but for the tennis team the break will only be from academics. The team begins its tough stretch Friday when it hosts Iowa at 3 p.m.