ND Women’s Tennis
Irish set to host pair of ACC foes
Benjamin Padanilam | Friday, April 17, 2015
Notre Dame is set to play its final two matches of the season this weekend, first traveling to Clemson, South Carolina, to take on No. 21 Clemson on Friday before returning home to take on No. 23 Duke at Courtney Tennis Center on Sunday.
Following a loss to No. 16 Miami at home this past Friday, the Irish (14-7, 8-4 ACC) are looking to end their regular season on a high note and head into the ACC tournament with two more wins over nationally ranked conference foes.
The Irish will first travel to Clemson to take on the Tigers (14-8, 9-4 ACC). Coming into Friday, the Tigers have won four of their last five matches in conference play. They are led by junior Joana Eidukonyte and senior Romy Koelzer, who are ranked No. 15 and 33 nationally, respectively.
Following the matchup with the Tigers, the Irish will then return home to take on the Blue Devils (14-8, 9-3 ACC) on Sunday at Courtney Tennis Center. Duke enters the match coming off a 4-1 loss to undefeated No. 1 North Carolina on Wednesday, but the Blue Devils still sit in fourth place in the ACC standings.
With these two matches representing the end of the regular season for the Irish, junior Quinn Gleason said she believes both matches provide an opportunity for Notre Dame to gain momentum going into the postseason.
“The matches against both Duke and Clemson will be very good tests for us this weekend,” Gleason said. “Both matches will be great opportunities for us because they are ranked ahead of us, and a win against either team would be huge for us right before the ACC tournament next week.”
Despite having to travel to Clemson, for Friday’s matchup before making the quick turnaround for the Duke match back at home on Sunday, Gleason said she and the team are excited to have the opportunity to end their regular season at home.
“For me, I always seem to play my best at home, so I’m excited that we get to play Duke in South Bend,” Gleason said. “The extra traveling is worth it to play the Blue Devils on our home courts.”
With both opponents ranked ahead of the Irish, Gleason said it will be important for Notre Dame to take the doubles point in both matches to establish momentum for the singles matches.
“I think getting the doubles point in each match will be very important for us,” Gleason said. “The doubles point creates momentum going into singles and is undoubtably a major factor in which team comes out on top.”
As the postseason approaches for the Irish with the ACC tournament next week, Gleason said the team is poised to make a run down the stretch.
“I think we’re a dark horse in the ACC tournament as well as the NCAA tournament, but there’s no position I’d rather be in,” Gleason said. “I know, personally, I always play my best when I feel like I’m the underdog and have nothing to lose. We have been able to compete with the very best teams in the country; I know that as a team we are right there with them.”
The Irish will duel Clemson at Hoke Sloan Tennis Center in Clemson on Friday at 2:30 p.m. before returning to Courtney Tennis Center to take on Duke on Sunday at 12 p.m.