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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish look to ride hot streak into weekend series against Clemson, Syracuse

| Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Irish will look to continue their hot start to the ACC season this weekend against Clemson and Syracuse. Notre Dame (7-2, 1-0 ACC) has posted four wins in a row and has gone three matches without losing a singles match. The Irish are playing with a relentless confidence that head coach Alison Silverio said is rooted in the their preparation.

“Our confidence definitely comes from our preparation and the work that we’re putting in consistently. The wins have just been an added bonus of the hard work and effort that we’re putting in each day,” Silverio said. “For us, confidence is something we’re feeling every day from practices to our matches to our workouts.”

Allison Thorton | The Observer

Irish junior Zoe Spence prepares to return a hit during Notre Dame’s 4-0 over Purdue on Feb. 13 at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Spence defeated the ninth-ranked singles player in the country in Purdue’s Silvia Ambrosio.

One of the most impressive individual performances during win streak came from junior Zoe Spence, who knocked off Purdue’s ninth-ranked senior Silvia Ambrosio 6-2, 6-4. It was a significant singles win for Spence, showing she can compete with anyone in the country in the number one singles spot. Silverio had high praise for Spence’s play against Ambrosio.

“That was a huge accomplishment. To get to No. 9 in the nation is not an easy feat and Silvia is a great player who has had a great career,” Silverio said. “ … Spence is someone who has been coming in every day, working hard and focusing on areas that we have been developing with her. She came out with the right mindset, understood the game plan, and took care of business. It’s a big confidence booster for her and the team, knowing that we’re going to be competitive in every spot no matter the number besides a person’s name.”

Spence and the rest of the Irish will now turn their attention to upcoming ACC opponents. Notre Dame has home matches against Clemson (5-5, 1-1 ACC) and Syracuse (6-4, 0-2 ACC) this weekend. The Irish have been dominant at home this season, going 5-0 including wins over Purdue (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten) and Michigan State. Silverio knows that her team thrives in the familiar environment at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

“We value playing at home a ton,” Silverio. “We’re very grateful for the opportunity to play at home and in front of our crowd and fans. It’s an amazing feeling and an area we’re familiar with.”

Clemson has lost five of its last six matches, including a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Wake Forest on Sunday. Despite their recent struggles, Clemson has been a strong team historically, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament last season and beating Ohio State before falling to eventual national runner-up, Vanderbilt. Silverio said she knows the Irish will get Clemson’s best Friday.

“Clemson is a very skilled team, they’ve been having some great battles in their previous matches,” Silverio said. “It’s a conference match. They’re going to be up for it. They’ve had a couple losses in their last few matches so I’m sure they’re starving for a win. They’re going to come in and bring their best against us. It’s Notre Dame and everyone wants to beat us. We have to prepare and continue to prepare in the right way and know that we have to bring our best because we know that our opponents are going to bring theirs.”

The Irish will take on Clemson at 3:30 p.m. Friday and Syracuse at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion before heading to North Carolina next weekend where they’ll face the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack.

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