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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame tops Illinois, set to hit road for Indiana, Louisville

| Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Notre Dame competed against Illinois this past weekend at Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Illinois, narrowly defeating the Illini, 4-3, in a tightly contested match.

“I felt like in singles, we competed really well,” Irish head coach Jay Louderback said. “It was a tight match — all six matches were three sets — so each court was just a tight, tight match, and after losing the doubles point, we had to win four of them.”

Irish senior Jane Fennelly returns her opponent’s shot during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Indiana on Feb. 20 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer
Irish senior Jane Fennelly returns her opponent’s shot during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Indiana on Feb. 20 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Although Louderback was especially proud of his own team’s efforts, he was also quick to compliment the Illini (3-5).

“Illinois is a good solid team,” Louderback said. “They’re always fiesty and they’re tough to play, and I feel like we did a good job in the singles of just competing to the end.”

Louderback said he was particularly impressed with senior Monica Robinson, who edged out Illini senior Louise Kwong at the No. 1 singles position in three sets.

“The kid she was playing from Illinois is a lefty that has a huge backhand, and it’s hard to get it to her forehand,” Louderback said. “She runs around and hits her backhand, and it’s a big-time backhand. Monica lost the first set but did a good job of being a little more aggressive, coming to the net some, hitting the ball a little wider to her forehand and just did a lot of different things to get back in the match. Especially indoors, the player who she played is very good.

“Monica did a great job of after losing the first set getting back in the match and we needed it.”

Robinson was not the only player Louderback was impressed with, however.

“[Junior Allison] Miller, she clinched for us,” Louderback said. “Ally was up a set and in the second set was leading but then let it slip away. But then [she] did a great job at the end of the match of stepping up and playing some big points to win 6-4 in the third.”

This coming weekend, the Irish (4-1, 1-0 ACC) will hit the road again, this time traveling to Bloomington, Indiana, to take on the Hoosiers (7-2, 0-1 Big Ten) on Saturday. The team has been working hard in preparation, Louderback said, particularly on its doubles game.

“We’re working a lot on our doubles — I was a little disappointed [last weekend],” Louderback said. “Our No. 1 doubles team played really well. We were up at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles and just let it slip away, just making some errors. Mainly fundamental tennis of getting our serves in and making returns — we just didn’t do that at the end of the doubles, so we’re putting a lot of time into that this week.”

This coming weekend will also feature Notre Dame’s second ACC matchup of the season: Louisville.

“Indiana is an in-state rivalry, so it’s always a good one, and down there their courts are pretty fast, so it’s not an easy place to play,” Louderback said. “And then Louisville will be our second ACC match. On the road will be a little tougher but our big thing is just getting ready right now, and I’m looking forward to playing both of those matches.”

The Irish will hit the road to take on the Hoosiers at 10 a.m. Saturday before traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, to play the Cardinals (6-3, 0-1 ACC) at noon Sunday.

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