Irish get off to fast start with win over Western Michigan
Meagan Bens | Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tuesday evening, in their first dual season match of the year, Notre Dame defeated Western Michigan 7-0 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The win was Notre Dame’s 15th consecutive victory in the dual season opener.
The Irish got off to a fast start in doubles, winning all three doubles matches.
Freshman Ally Bojczuk and junior Rachel Chong had a 6-2 win over junior Denise Azcui and freshman Jeryn Jack, along with freshman Cameron Corse and sophomore Zoe Spence securing a 6-2 win against red-shirt senior Barbare Eristavi and sophomore Gabriela Slavova. To finish up the doubles, seniors Brooke Broda and Allison Miller closed 6-3 over juniors Melina Lyubomirova and Katija Fevralev.
“I was really happy with our doubles,” Coach Jay Louderback said. “We ended up winning all three of them. We had a couple games early where we were down a break and we did a good job not panicking. We stayed in there. We’ve been working on doubles a lot. And Western [Michigan] is known to be good, so that was a great start for us.”
Defending their home court, the Irish walked away with another three wins in singles. Chong won 6-0, 6-1 against Slavova. Freshman Caroline Dunleavy secured her first collegiate win with a 6-3, 6-0 over Jack. Wrapping up the meet and also having her first collegiate win, Corse had a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Fevralev.
“Our biggest thing was that we had three freshmen playing their first match,” Louderback said. “It was really good for them to get their first match under their belt. It felt like the three started out a little nervous, but once they got going they were fine.”
Noting the freshmen’s performance along with the team’s 7-0 victory, Louderback attributes the success to the team’s chemistry.
“The older ones have taken [the freshmen] under their wings and have done a good job with them,” he said. “We’ve switched them around with doubles in practice, moved them around with some of the older and younger ones. I feel like it’s a close group. The freshmen were a close group coming in and the older ones have done a good job helping them blend in.”
Moving on with their first win of the season, Notre Dame will play Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
“I haven’t really seen [Eastern Illinois] play,” Louderback said. “They’ve played one match, but I didn’t see how it ended up. I do know the top of their lineup has done well at Regionals, so I’m guessing that will be their strength this coming Saturday.”