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ND Women’s Tennis

After suffering their first loss of the season, Notre Dame to take on Illinois this Friday

| Thursday, February 7, 2019

Notre Dame will travel to Champagne, Ill., to take on Illinois on Friday. The Irish (3-1, 1-0 ACC) will be looking to bounce back after a 6-1 loss at the hands of Ohio State. Head coach Allison Silverio said she understands the challenges her team will face as they hope to bounce back from their first defeat in the midst on their third-straight road contest.

“I think our biggest challenge is going in there and understanding that it’s an away match, and so we are going to have ourselves and our teammates and our coaching staff,” Silverio said. “Going to a place like Illinois in the Big Ten, they’re going to have a great crowd and it’s their home courts and we have to see that challenge as a way for us to get better.”

Coming into last Saturday’s match against the Buckeyes (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten), the Irish had only lost one game, routing their first two opponents and conceding only one point to Pittsburgh. However, they were unable to carry that momentum against No. 19 Ohio State. The lone victory for the Irish against the Buckeyes came behind sophomore Cameron Corse.

Friday’s tilt will prove to be another challenge as both teams are stacked up fairly evenly and the Illini (0-3, 0-0 Big Ten) will be looking to snap their three-match losing streak. Silverio said the Irish would have to focus on a variety of factors in order to win against Illinois.

“I think ultimately the difference is going to come down to the discipline and the mental toughness, and the consistency that it takes to withstand the blows that we’re taking out there,” Silverio said. “If we control what we can control and that we’ve been working on in practice, then I certainly believe that we’re going to put ourselves in a very successful position.”

Although the Illini are still searching for their first win of their season, their record is deceptive, with all three of their losses coming against top-25 teams, the latests of which was to No. 4 Duke.

Silverio said discipline was key when getting set for matches and executing their style of tennis.

“As far as how we focus on preparing for matches, we really focus on the areas that we have control over and that we do well and we’re going to play our game style no matter what,” Silverio said. “We’re going to stay more focused and keep our heads down on what we do well.”

Doubles play will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday at the Atkins Tennis Center as the Irish will seek their fourth win of the spring season.

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