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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame cruises to win over Pittsburgh despite difficult trip

| Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Notre Dame continued its undefeated start this weekend by defeating Pittsburgh, 6-1, on the road at Alpha Tennis & Fitness Center in Pittsburgh.

Prior to even playing, the Irish (3-0, 1-0 ACC) had to battle adversity just to get to the match against the Panthers (1-1, 0-1).

“We had kind of a rough trip over to Pitt,” Irish head coach Jay Louderback said. “Our bus broke down twice, and instead of 5 1/2 hours, it took us 14 to get there, and we got in late Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. We didn’t get to hit on their courts or hit at all on Saturday. A lot of the time when on the road, it’s good to hit on the other courts because the speed is different and sometimes there are faster courts, and theirs are. So I was a little worried about that, but our kids handled it really well.”

The Irish doubles teams proved to be strong this weekend, as the first and second doubles teams handled their competition relatively easily to secure the match’s doubles point. Irish senior Monica Robinson and junior Brooke Broda, playing in the No. 1 spot, defeated Panthers redshirt senior Amber Washington and junior Callie Frey, 6-2, while the No. 2 doubles team of senior Mary Closs and junior Allison Miller defeated the Panthers duo of sophomore Gabriela Rezende and freshman Jovana Knezevic, 6-3.

“Their doubles are usually very good,” Louderback said. “I felt that that was a real key for us, playing so well in the doubles.”

In the singles competition, Pittsburgh clinched the first point and evened the score with Washington’s win over Broda, but the Irish answered with sweeping victories in the other five singles matches to secure the overall win. Robinson defeated Panthers senior Audrey Ann Blakely, 6-2, 6-2, to move her to 3-0 on the season. Irish freshmen Bess Waldram and Zoe Spence also had strong performances: Waldram topped Knezevic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, while Spence did the same against Frey, 7-5, 6-1. Senior Jane Fennelly and Miller also contributed to the singles competition with another pair of straight-set wins to close out the competition.

Louderback was extremely pleased with his team’s efforts throughout the match, he said.

“We played really well,” Louderback said. “Pitt’s tough at home — they’re a bunch of big hitters, and the courts are really fast. We came out with a 4-3 win there two years ago and were really lucky to win that match. It was a lot of the same kids two years ago and this year, so we were thinking this was gonna be really tough, and we just played very well.”

The next competition for Notre Dame will be Friday against No. 14 Michigan. The match is set to start at 3:30 p.m. at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

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