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Sports

Irish begin first season under new leadership

| Wednesday, January 23, 2019

It has been 29 years since the Irish took the court without the guidance of former head coach Jay Louderback. After overseeing 748 wins and 24 trips to the NCAA tournament, Louderback retired from his position last May. His replacement, Alison Silverio, has big shoes to fill, but her first season got off to a great start last Friday — The Irish (1-0) took a decisive 7-0 win against Western Michigan at home, winning five of six singles matches in straight sets. Notre Dame saw contributions from its entire lineup, from freshmen to graduate students.

The most dominant performance came from sophomore Ally Bojczuk, who lost only one game in her match. With a decisive 6-1, 6-0 decision over Western Michigan freshman Denise Azcui, Bojczuk picked up where she left off last season, in which she finished with a 22-7 overall singles record.

Observer File Photo

Irish junior Bess Waldram returns a volley in the Courtney Tennis Center.

The Irish saw similar success in their doubles matches. Graduate student Brooke Broda paired with junior Bess Waldram to make up the Notre Dame’s top pair and take a 6-3 decision from Western Michigan (2-1). Freshman Maeve Koscielski and sophomore Cameron Corse made up the third pair, securing a 6-2 win that clinched the doubles point for the Irish. The second pair of Bojczuk and senior Rachel Chong did not finish their match.

Broda did not play her freshman year due to injury and thus elected to return for fifth year over the summer. The Irish are already benefitting from return, as she won her singles match 6-1, 6-4 over Western Michigan freshman Katja Fevralev. She currently occupies the team’s number three singles spot, and she will continue be a fixture in the Irish lineup.

The program will look to build upon their success this Wednesday when it faces Bowling Green. The Falcons are 1-1 on the season, coming off of a road loss against Louisville, one of Notre Dame’s future ACC opponents. Bowling Green has several established players, including senior Paula Comella. Comella plays in the top singles spot for the Falcons and is 2-0 on the season. She will square off against Waldram, who is currently Notre Dame’s No. 1.

Irish freshman Zoe Taylor won her first spring match against Western Michigan playing out of the six spot. She will likely have to continue her college acclimation against Bowling Green senior Vanesa Pardo, a Spaniard who secured one of Bowling Green’s two singles wins last weekend against Louisville.

The Irish will take on Bowling Green at home in the Eck Tennis Center at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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