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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame to face Panthers, Wolverines

| Friday, February 12, 2016

Notre Dame has a big weekend ahead, welcoming two top teams in Pittsburgh and No. 8 Michigan. The Irish host the Panthers on Friday afternoon and then travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Sunday to face the Wolverines.

The Irish (3-2) have had nearly two weeks off since they last competed Jan. 31, when they hosted a double-header with Illinois and Bowling Green. Against Illinois, senior Quinn Gleason, junior Monica Robinson, sophomore Allison Miller, junior Mary Closs and sophomore Brooke Broda all claimed singles victories to power the Irish to a 5-2 win. The Irish enjoyed a clean sweep against Bowling Green, winning all six singles matches and the three doubles matches.

Irish head coach Jay Louderback said he believes those wins are crucial for his team to build on moving forward.

“Getting the wins always helps with confidence,” Louderback said. “We were especially excited with the win over Illinois, as they had just beaten Virginia Tech.”

Louderback said his team has been focusing on improving its doubles performance leading up to Friday’s match. In three of their last four matches, the Irish have lost the doubles point.

“We have been working really hard on our doubles play, and I think the extra practice will show up in our future matches,” Louderback said.

Louderback said he expects the tough matchup against Pittsburgh due to the Panthers’ powerful style of tennis.

“Pitt is very good indoors because of all of the big hitters they have,” Louderback said. “We will have to be very patient against them and look for our chances to be aggressive.”

Pittsburgh (3-0) has recorded wins over West Virginia, Youngstown State and Penn State since the New Year, but Friday will mark its first road match of the season.

As for the match against eighth-ranked Michigan, Louderback said his team has to be ready for a quick turnaround in a hostile environment.

“[The Wolverines] always are great competitors and are very tough to beat at their place,” Louderback said. “They seem to get great crowds when we are in town.”

Michigan comes into Sunday’s matchup with a 4-2 record. The Wolverines began the season by hosting the ITA Kick-Off Tournament, where they recorded wins over San Francisco and Kentucky before losing to Ohio State in the final. Last weekend, the Wolverines participated in the ITA Indoor Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. They recorded wins over Miami (Fla.) and LSU and a loss to second-ranked Georgia.

Notre Dame’s match against Pittsburgh is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Eck Tennis Pavilion, while the Irish and Wolverines will get underway Sunday at 1 p.m. at Michigan’s Varsity Tennis Center.

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