ND Women’s Tennis
Irish prep for stretch run
Zach Klonsinski | Thursday, March 27, 2014
Fresh off a sweep of Marquette, No. 22 Notre Dame will look to keep the momentum rolling this weekend as it hosts Wake Forest on Sunday morning at Eck Tennis Pavilion.The Irish (9-8, 2-6 ACC) blanked the Golden Eagles (8-6) by a score of 7-0 on Wednesday afternoon, ending a two-match losing streak from the weekend before against No. 6 Virginia and No. 10 North Carolina.
“We lost two [matches] last weekend to two teams who were in the top 10, and [we] played pretty well,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “You can play well and still lose a couple of matches in the ACC. It’s pretty easy to do.”
The big win over Marquette gives the Irish a great deal of momentum as the look forward to the weekend, Irish senior Jennifer Kellner said.
“It’s a good confidence boost for everyone, especially since all the girls in the ACC are so tough,” she said.
“This was good just to get a win,” Louderback said. “We’ve won quite a few in a row but after losing two [in a row] you always start doubting a little bit. … This was good to help momentum for [Sunday’s] match.”
The match-up against the Demon Deacons (10-7, 2-6 ACC) is the beginning of the final stretch of conference play for the Irish, with only six ACC matches remaining in the regular season. The Irish will have four home matches in a row before finishing the season with a pair on the road. Louderback said he understands that it is important to get off to a good start for the last few games.
Wake Forest has been bitten by the injury bug this year, with multiple players going down at one point or another, including sophomore Andrea Retolaza Andrade, the Demon Deacons’ top player. Still, the Demon Deacons were ranked in the top 40 earlier this year for the first time since 2009.
“When they’re all there, they’re good,” Louderback said. “They’ve just had matches where they’ve had two of their six out and when they do they’ve struggled some. When they’re healthy they’re good.”
Louderback also pointed out that the Demon Deacons have had a number of close matches against teams towards the top of the ACC standings, including Florida State and North Carolina.
“They’ve had some tight matches and their doubles are solid,” Louderback said. “We just don’t know who they’re going to have [on the court]. They could be good and they’re athletic.”
Although the Irish managed to earn the doubles point Wednesday, they have struggled to take the early lead in matches since ACC play began.
“Even though we won the doubles point, it was a little bit of a struggle,” Louderback said. “I think we’ll be tinkering with it all year.”
Kellner and her fellow senior Julie Sabacinski have been paired together in the last couple of weeks and provided a boost to the doubles team.
“It’s really fun to play together. Our games complement each other well,” Kellner said. “We’re really close off the court so that always helps. Julie’s always been a great doubles player.”
Notre Dame will look to ride their newfound spark and recent success to another ACC win Sunday at 9 a.m., at Eck Tennis Pavilion.