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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame takes two of three over break

| Tuesday, March 17, 2015

No. 28 Notre Dame played three matches over the past week and came away with a pair of wins.

The Irish (9-5, 4-2 ACC) cruised to a win over East Carolina, 4-0, on March 10 in Tampa, Florida, before coming back home and losing to No. 1 North Carolina, 5-2, on Friday and defeating Boston College, 5-2, on Sunday at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

In the victory over the Pirates (11-5), the No. 21 doubles pairing of junior Quinn Gleason and sophomore Monica Robinson secured a 6-1 victory in the top doubles spot. The second-position doubles team of freshman Allison Miller and junior Julie Vrabel then won in a tiebreaker, 7-6(5), to give the Irish the doubles point.

In the singles, the Irish picked up three quick wins to secure the 4-0 victory. Robinson, Vrabel and sophomore Mary Closs all cruised to victories, leaving the other three singles matches unfinished due to the fact it was a non-conference match and the result had already been decided. Irish head coach Jay Louderback said he was pleased with the team’s performance and the opportunity the match provided for them to prepare for more outdoor tennis going forward.

“We had great break,” Louderback said. “We were able to get outdoors and practice. We needed to get outdoors and just play in some heat. Pretty much from here on out, at least all of our away matches are probably going to be outdoors.”

Notre Dame was set to play Florida Gulf Coast later that evening, but the match was cancelled due to inclement weather. Instead, the Irish returned home to prepare for their two matches this past weekend at Eck Tennis Pavilion.  On Friday, the team battled but fell to the top-ranked Tar Heels (17-0, 5-0 ACC) by a score of 5-2.

The Irish started strong in the match with an 8-5 victory at first-position doubles by Gleason and Robinson over the No. 12 doubles team of senior Caroline Price and sophomore Jamie Loeb. However, Miller and Vrabel fell to the No. 36 pairing of juniors Ashley Dai and Kate Vialle 8-5 at second-position doubles, while Closs and sophomore Jane Fennelly lost 8-4 to the 18th-ranked duo of sophomore Hayley Carter and junior Whitney Kay to give the doubles point to the Tar Heels.

In the singles, Miller and Fennelly fought to wins to earn two points for the Irish. Miller won in three sets at No. 5 singles, defeating Dai 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. At No. 6 singles, Fennelly sailed to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Vialle. However, the Tar Heels, with three players ranked in the top 20 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) top 50, took wins in the other four singles matches to defeat Notre Dame by a final score of 5-2.

On Sunday, however, the Irish rebounded with a 5-2 win over the Eagles (8-7, 2-3). 

The Irish began the day by taking the doubles point following decisive wins by Miller and Vrabel and the duo of Closs and Fennelly at second and third doubles, respectively. Miller and Vrabel cruised to an 8-1 victory, while Closs and Fennelly won by a score of 8-3.

After taking the doubles point, Notre Dame then won four of the six singles matches. Both Closs and Fennelly won in two sets while Robinson and Vrabel fell in their matches. Leading 3-2 with two singles matches remaining, the Irish were able to take both as Gleason and Miller each claimed victory in tiebreakers to secure a 5-2 victory. Following the performance, Louderback said he was excited with the effort put forth by his team this weekend.

“We played two really good matches,” Louderback said. “We lost 5-2 to North Carolina, but they’re the No. 1 team in the country. We had a chance to win in the doubles and [Quinn Gleason] lost in three sets, so we’re right there with them. Then, we had an exciting win over BC. We came down to the last two matches in tiebreakers and won both of them. But if we had lost both, then we would’ve lost the match. So for us, it was a very good spring break.”

The Irish will return to the courts Friday at 3 p.m. when they take on Florida State at Scott Speicher Tennis Center in Tallahassee, Florida.

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About Benjamin Padanilam

Ben is a senior and The Observer’s former Editor-in-Chief, now serving as its interim Sports Editor. He is in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and also pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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