ND Women’s Tennis
Irish travel to face No. 1 Blue Devils
Zach Klonsinski | Thursday, February 27, 2014
After a slow start to ACC regular-season play, the competition does not get any easier for the No. 25 Irish, as they travel to Durham, N.C., this weekend to take on Duke, the top-ranked team in the country.
“There’s really no bad teams, so every match in the ACC is going to be a good one,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “We’ve just got to be prepared for a tough match every time.”
The Irish (5-4, 0-2) have struggled to get off to good starts in conference play, dropping the doubles point in the losses to Georgia Tech and Miami. Searching for a spark, Louderback indicated the Irish would be switching up the pairings they have had all year to this point.
“We’re going to keep our one [position] team, but our two and three [positions], we’re going to get some new people in,” said Louderback. “Our doubles has not been consistent all year.”
According to Louderback’s count, the Irish are 2-11 at the two and three doubles positions when facing ranked teams.
“I hate switching [the doubles teams] around in the middle of the year, but there’s nothing to lose the way we’ve been playing,” Louderback said.
Whatever magic the Irish are hoping to find, they will need it this weekend against Duke’s doubles teams, ranked No. 4, No. 27 and No. 43 in the country.
Louderback was more pleased with the play of the Irish singles, which have had to carry the team with the lack of doubles success. In the 4-3 home loss last weekend against Georgia Tech, the Irish were almost able to overcome the lost doubles point with strong singles play, especially at the deeper positions of the roster. Freshman Monica Robinson was the only Irish player to win both of her singles matches last weekend, but fellow freshman Mary Closs and senior Jennifer Kellner also had strong performances.
That depth will have to come up big again for the Irish this weekend against an equally deep Blue Devils team, which fields four nationally ranked singles players, including second-ranked sophomore Beatrice Capra, who will presumably match up against Irish senior Brittany Sanders at No. 1 singles.
“It’ll be good for us,” Louderback said of the matchup. “It’s another really good team. They just won the National Indoor Championship, so we’ll have to play well.”
In practice this week, the Irish looked to work on keeping their intensity up. Louderback said the team has gone in and out of matches mentally at times, but he was very pleased with the way the girls responded in practice coming off the rough weekend.
“Yesterday we had maybe the best practice we’ve had all year,” he said.
The Irish hope to bring that same intensity as they take on the Blue Devils on Friday afternoon at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center in Durham, N.C., where play is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Contact Zach Klonsinski at [email protected]