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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish prepare for two Big 10 matchups

| Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Irish are coming off a four-win week after sweeping two doubleheaders to bookend last week.

Notre Dame (6-2, 1-1 ACC) will host Iowa (6-3, 0-0 Big Ten) on Saturday and then travel South to take on Purdue (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten) on Sunday. The Irish are on a four-match win streak and will seek to churn up another two-win weekend against two Big 10 opponents.

The Irish have not been tested much recently, with only one of their last four matches being highly contested. Nevertheless, Irish head coach Jay Louderback noted the team has been preparing for two solid opponents.

“We know we’ve got two tough matches this weekend — two of the Big Ten teams that are really solid,” he said. “We’ve just been working a lot — the last couple of weeks — on our singles and we feel like we’re getting back to working a little more on doubles again. We’ll keep doing it with the singles but, I feel like the singles have been very good and the [players] have competed well. So, we’re getting ready, we’re really getting ready to try to be ready to play.”

The schedule does not favor the Irish, as they usually travel to away matches the day before — for this weekend they will have to travel early Sunday morning because of their home match on Saturday. The odd scheduling puts Notre Dame at a disadvantage that Louderback commented on, adding that he believes his team can handle it.

“We don’t like [traveling the day after playing]. This week, the main reason we’re doing it is so we don’t miss a class day. We only miss so many class days this semester so, we couldn’t miss class [this time],” he said. “It really shouldn’t be that tough — I think the doubleheaders we played the last couple of weeks will help us because [the players] have had to play a lot. Conditioning wise, we’re in good shape, and that’s a lot of it.

“Normally, we would like to try to get there the day before, but we’re just not going to be able to this time, so we’ll get an extra hit Sunday morning before we play.”

Louderback praised the freshmen on his young team for their strong play and for their well-executed transition into duals play — which is one of the significant differences between the fall season and the spring season.

“[The freshmen] have all been doing a good job. It’s so different playing dual matches rather than how they play regular tournaments in the fall because you’re on the road and you’re playing lots of times against teams that may have a crowd that’s loud,” he said. “The freshmen, I feel like, they’re all getting used to that now. All of them have done a good job of starting to adjust to playing dual matches. The dual matches are all such a team thing and usually they’ve always played it as individual tournaments. There’s definitely a different feel playing dual matches so, that’s the big thing, them getting used to that and playing in that environment.”

Louderback also discussed the opposite end of the team, his two seniors: Allison Miller and Brooke Broda. Louderback commented on how well the pair has handled its last season.

“[The seniors] have just been enjoying it,” he said. “They’ve been great in practice — coming out and enjoying practice every day — and just enjoying their teammates. They’re doing a good job just enjoying the end of it, the last part of their careers.”

The Irish will host Iowa at Eck Tennis Pavilion on Saturday at noon.

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