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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish to play in second consecutive doubleheader

| Friday, February 23, 2018

Notre Dame will host Pittsburgh and Bowling Green for a Saturday doubleheader, coming off a two-win doubleheader Sunday.

Pittsburgh (5-2, 0-1 ACC) will be the second ACC opponent the Irish (4-2, 0-1 ACC) will face this spring season. Irish head coach Jay Louderback said the matchup with the Panthers is an important one to getting off to a good start in the conference.

Observer File Photo

Irish senior Allison Miller serves the ball during Notre Dame’s 5-2 win over Purdue on Feb. 22, 2017, at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

“For us, it’s a big one just because it’s ACC. It’s our second ACC match, and we’ve had a couple of tight [matches] with [Pittsburgh] the last couple of years, and they just had a good win over Penn State last week,” Louderback said. “Pitt’s been playing pretty well. I think it’ll be a good [match] for us — any ACC match, we know it’s going to be tough.”

Bowling Green (5-2, 0-0 MAC) will be another tough opponent for the Irish. Louderback praised the Falcons for the progress they have made in the last two years.

“[Bowling Green is] solid. They’ve gotten — in the last two years, they’ve really made a big jump in how many good athletes they have,” Louderback said. “They’ve had a lot of tight matches; it seems like they have a lot of close ones. [Bowling Green] being the second match of the day, we’ve just got to be ready; they’re solid and athletic — should be a good match.”

The team has been preparing by attempting to emulate the competitiveness of its matches. Louderback emphasized the importance of having players practice under match-like conditions.

“We’ve been working a lot, still, on trying to keep our [players] very competitive,” he said. “We’ve been making practices competitive and having [our players] get used to competing. In every match we play now — it seems like everybody is good, so every match we play we have to be ready to compete. That’s what we’ve been doing in practice, just a lot of play and having [our players] compete.”

Coming off a doubleheader last Sunday, the Irish are looking to obtain four wins in a week. Aside from practicing to match the competitiveness of matches, the team is also training to keep players refined and polished. Louderback said the way practices run throughout the week varies.

“We do different things in practice. There are some days where we play more, where we’re just playing competitive sets or games,” Louuderback said. “When we have those days, [the coaches] are mainly just observing — you don’t talk to the [players] on how they’re playing the points. Then, there’s some days where we just drill. We’ll have the [players] do a lot of repetition to get them to feel confident when they hit the ball. It just depends on what we do that day.”

The team has not yet chosen the lineups for Saturday’s matches, but Louderback said there will not be much change from last week’s lineup.

“We don’t change [the lineup] a lot, once we get going,” he said. “We just wait — a lot of it depends on [players] being healthy and just different things. We don’t completely set [the lineup] until the day before.”

Notre Dame’s conference matchup with Pittsburgh get underway at 10 a.m. Saturday at Eck Tennis Pavilion, with the Bowling Green match beginning at 3 p.m.

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