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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish take two in ACC action

| Thursday, April 9, 2015

Notre Dame had yet another successful weekend in ACC play, returning from a road trip with two more conference wins, defeating Wake Forest on Friday and Virginia Tech on Sunday.

Friday afternoon, the Irish (14-6, 8-3 ACC) dominated the Demon Deacons (12-11, 2-9 ACC), winning 7-0 to secure their second straight shutout victory. Notre Dame defeated Marquette 7-0 on March 29.

Junior Quinn Gleason said the weather played a factor in the match against a Wake Forest team that might be better than its record indicates.

20150206, 2014-2015, 20150206, Eck Tennis Center, Michael Yu, Stanford, Women's Tennis, WTennisMichael Yu | The Observer
Junior Julie Vrabel returns a shot in a Feb. 6 match against Stanford. Vrabel won 8-3 in doubles with freshman Allison Miller against Virginia Tech on Sunday.

“The wind was a huge factor in our match against Wake Forest,” Gleason said. “As a team that has been playing inside, I was so proud of the way our team rose to the challenge. Wake Forest is a very underrated team. I would definitely consider them top-30, so getting a 7-0 win against them will add to our momentum going into the ACC tournament.”

In the doubles portion of the match, the duo of Gleason and sophomore Monica Robinson won 8-3 at the No. 1 flight, while freshman Allison Miller and sophomore Jane Fennelly won by the same mark at No. 3.

The only loss for the Irish on the afternoon came at No. 2 doubles, where junior Julie Vrabel and sophomore Mary Closs lost 8-2.

Gleason needed three sets to get past Demon Deacons sophomore Kimmy Guerin at No. 1 singles, but Robinson, Closs and Miller each had straight-set victories at Nos. 2, 4 and 5 singles respectively.

After the win — its third straight by either a 6-1 or 7-0 margin — Notre Dame headed north to Blacksburg, Virginia, to take on a Hokies team that had not lost at home all season.

However, the Irish stopped that streak as they snuck past Virginia Tech (12-7, 4-6) with a 4-3 victory.

“The Virginia Tech match was huge for us,” Gleason said. “Being on the road is always tougher, and they were just coming off of a big win against Miami (Fla.). It was really a full team effort on Sunday. Everyone out there contributed to the win whether it was in singles or doubles.”

It only took two matches for the Irish to secure the doubles point, as Miller and Vrabel won 8-3 at No. 2 doubles, before Closs and Fennelly finished an 8-6 win as Gleason and Robinson trailed at No. 1 doubles when the third flight ended.

It was the singles portion of the match, though, where the Irish saw their toughest test on the day. After Closs (6-2, 6-3) and Miller (6-2, 6-1) made quick work of their opponents at Nos. 4 and 5 singles, Notre Dame was just one singles match from a victory.

But after Robinson and Fennelly lost their deciding sets at Nos. 2 and 6 singles, it came down to Gleason and Vrabel to take home the win for the Irish.

Both were down a game in the third set, each needing to break her opponent’s serve to force a tiebreaker. Both did.

Vrabel fell first in her tiebreaker at No. 3 singles, putting Gleason in a must-win situation. She did.

“Julie and I were the last ones playing,” Gleason said. “And we both got broken to go down 5-6 in our third sets at the exact same time. In that game I faced two consecutive match points. I was keeping track of every one of Vrabel’s points and knew her score the whole time. Winning those two match points was definitely a turning point in the match for me. I could feel her getting nervous and knew I had to capitalize on the opportunity. Winning that match was huge for us as a team. I’m so proud that I got to be a part of it.”

The Irish have now won four straight, but it must now turn its attention to No. 17 Miami (Fla.), who visits Courtney Tennis Center at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Notre Dame’s penultimate home match of the season.

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