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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish fall short of comeback against Syracuse

| Monday, February 25, 2019

The Irish lost 4-3 in heartbreaking fashion to No. 25 Syracuse on Sunday. Notre Dame (8-3, 2-1 ACC) suffered its first home loss of the season against the Orange (8-4, 2-2 ACC), who have won their last four matches.

Irish head coach Alison Silverio said both teams played tough in the match.

“We knew coming in that Syracuse is a well-coached team and … is certainly competitive,” Silverio said. “They’ve had a great season so far, and we knew that we were going to be in a fight. They certainly brought it today. I give credit to them for stepping up in big moments and being able to convert. For us, it’s just another example of our fighting spirit. There is so much to build on and so many positives. Yes, it stings a little bit that the team match didn’t go our way, but we have so much momentum moving forward.”

The match began with the Irish claiming the first doubles point behind the strong play of junior Zoe Spence and graduate student Brooke Broda. However, Notre Dame would lose the next two doubles matches giving Syracuse the lead. The Irish were quickly defeated in the first two matches of singles play as junior Bess Waldran and Spence were defeated by sophomore Sofya Golubovskaya and senior Gabriela Knutson, respectively. Broda cut into the Orange’s 3-0 lead by beating senior Libi Mesh in two sets. The Irish then worked hard to complete the comeback after the rest of the singles players lost their first set. Irish sophomore Ally Bojczuk defeated junior Miranda Ramirez in three sets while sophomore Cameron Corse needed a tiebreaker to beat junior Guzal Yusupova and tie the overall match at 3-3. Notre Dame freshman Zoe Taylor fought to push her match to a third set, but senior Dina Hegab was able to secure the match for Syracuse by winning the last set 6-3.

Silverio praised her team’s resilience and competitiveness in the face of 3-0 deficit.

“There are a lot of little victories here,” Silverio said. “Of course, the team match didn’t go our way, but to be down 3-0 and fight all the way back to 3-3 was amazing. That’s the spirit of the Fighting Irish. It’s about moments like these where we are in a battle every single point up and down the line. We were able to convert in a lot of those matches today. The last one didn’t quite go our way. … To see that we’re right there is a positive as we press on.”

With upcoming matches against No. 2 North Carolina and No. 23 North Carolina State, Silverio said the Irish need to improve in a few areas of their game.

“We’re continuing with our doubles [strategy] of really playing first strike in an aggressive style, and today, I didn’t feel that we were quite as sharp with our returns and serving placement,” Silverio said. “When those are … where they need to be, we’re able to convert a bit better. The area in singles that we’ve been working on is transitioning when we are coming forward and finishing at the net. We had a few girls that were certainly being courageous with that … but we still have to keep working on it.”

Next up for the Irish is a trip to North Carolina on Friday to take on the Tar Heels. The match is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

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