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ND Women’s Tennis

Squad defeats Pittsburgh to remain undefeated in spring play

| Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Notre Dame picked up its first ACC win of the season Sunday, defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers handily in Irish head coach Alison Silverio’s first ACC match. The Panthers were 0-14 in the ACC last season, making it an opportunity for the Irish to make a statement. The team did just that, winning all three doubles matches and five out of six singles matches in a 6-1 win.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish senior Rachel Chong prepares for a shot during Notre Dame’s 7-0 win over Bowling Green on Wednesday at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

In what will likely be the final meeting between the programs, the Irish (3-0, 1-0 ACC) improved to 8-0 all-time against the Panthers (1-2, 0-1 ACC). Earlier this month, Pittsburgh announced that it is discontinuing the women’s tennis program at the conclusion of the season.

Playing out of the number-one position, junior Zoe Spence led the way for the Irish. She won in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 over Pittsburgh junior Luisa Varon. It was Spence’s third straight win of the season. She also won her doubles match, competing with sophomore Cameron Corse and winning their match 6-3. The 2018 Monogram Club Team MVP, Spence figures to be a significant leader for the Irish this season.

Graduate student Brooke Broda also won in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. Broda remained undefeated on the season, continuing her run of success into Atlantic Coast Conference play. Broda is in her fifth year at Notre Dame, and her experience has been a key for Silverio to rely upon as she transitions into her new role.

Junior Bess Waldram did not win her singles match, but re-focused by winning her doubles match. Playing alongside Broda, Waldram helped defeat the Panthers duo of Gabriela Rezende and Claudia Bartolome 6-4 to secure the doubles point for Notre Dame. The opening point already secured, the Irish finished their run of success in doubles for good measure, as the combination of senior Rachel Chong and sophomore Ally Bojczuk narrowly defeated the Pittsburgh duo of Clara Lucas and Camila Moreno 5-4.

The team will head to Columbus to take on Ohio State next Sunday, marking the first of five straight matches against Big Ten opponents for Silverio’s squad. The Buckeyes are 2-0 and feature a strong lineup. Ohio State sophomore Luna Dormet is 12-2, including the fall season mostly playing out of the number five singles position. Irish No. 5 freshman Maeve Koscielski, who defeated Pittsburgh’s Natsumi Okamoto 6-1, 7-5 this weekend, will likely face off against Dormet — a key matchup that may determine which team will bring home the win.

Ohio State sophomore Shiori Fukuda will take on Spence in the first spot. Fukuda is ranked 75th nationally in singles and will represent a challenge for Spence, who could push her current win streak to four matches and further establish herself as a force in the national singles rankings with a victory.

The Irish will take on the Buckeyes on Sunday at noon in Columbus, Ohio.

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