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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish gear up for match against Buckeyes

| Thursday, February 1, 2018

Notre Dame has begun preparations to take on No. 22 Ohio State, its highest ranked opponent this season, in the team’s first away match of the season Sunday.

Head coach Jay Louderback said a strong doubles unit is among the challenges the Buckeyes (1-1) will bring.

“[The Buckeyes] have done well,” he said. “They beat Kansas last week and lost to [Wake Forest] but won the doubles point both times. Against them — their doubles are very good, so we feel like if we could win the doubles point, that would be great. We’ve been working on that quite a bit. They’re a team that overall, they just like to hit the ball very big. They’re good indoors, so we’re trying to get ready knowing we’re going to see the ball coming at us pretty hard.”

Louderback said the Irish (2-0) are full of grit, a characteristic that all their opponents should take into account. Furthermore, he said, the Irish have a variety of players that can play different styles of tennis, which will cause problems for the Buckeyes.

“A big thing is, [Ohio State] better be ready, because our [players] will compete very well,” Louderback said. “We’ll compete every point we play in the match. We got a good balance of young and old, we got [players] that hit the ball big, ones that play a little bit more where they hit a lot of balls back, ones that come in. We have such a big variety of players — that’s something that’s good for us. It’s hard for teams to prepare for us because until you get the lineup, you don’t know who you’re going to match up with.”

Notre Dame last saw Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA championships last year where they fell to the Buckeyes, a loss that’s still in the memories of the Irish. Louderback said his players are excited for a rematch.

“[The team] is already getting fired up,” he said. “We lost to [Ohio State] last year in the second round of the [NCAA championships] in a tight match at Ohio State. I feel like our [players] know how good [Ohio State’s players] are — they’re a ranked team. And really, [the coaches] don’t have to do anything [to fire up the team]. [The players] are going to be ready and excited to play them.”

Louderback said it is for the team to get on the road. Being on the road, he said, helps bring the team together.

“It’s always good to get out on the road because then we have everybody together and there are no other distractions,” he said. “I think [the players] get a lot of studying down because we’re on the bus and there’s nothing else for them to do. The big thing is getting them together, getting on the road and having every meal together. It’s just something to help our [players] as the season goes. The first [away match] is always a good one because we’re all ready to get out.”

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