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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish beat Panthers, fall to Cavaliers in ACC Tournament

| Thursday, April 25, 2019

After earning the No. 10 seed with a pair of victories at the close of the regular season, the Irish travelled to Cary, North Carolina, for the ACC Tournament. The team drew a first-round matchup with Pittsburgh, a team that went winless in ACC play. After dispatching the Panthers 4-1, the Irish were bounced from the tournament by seventh-seeded Virginia. Irish head coach Alison Silverio said she had mixed feelings about the tournament.

“We got a win in our last home match against Boston College and we were really playing some of our best tennis,” Silverio said. “We had some players in against Pitt that hadn’t been in the lineup they did great and really stepped up. We had seen Virginia just a few weeks prior, and we knew what we needed to do from a preparation standpoint. Ultimately, we just did not execute as well as we needed to.”

Coming off a 2018 season that saw them earn the 14th seed and lose in the first round, getting a first-round win over Pittsburgh showed Silverio the team made improvements in her first year at the helm. The Irish won a point in doubles, three out of the four finished singles matches and were winning both of the unfinished matches when Notre Dame clinched the points it needed to overcome Pittsburgh.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish sophomore Ally Bojczuk follows through on a hit during Notre Dame’s 7-0 victory over Bowling Green on Jan. 23.

Sophomore Ally Bojczuk particularly stood out over the weekend. Bojczuk beat Pittsburgh sophomore Camila Moreno 6-0, 6-2, taking a dominant win. Bojczuk is 18-12 in singles on the season, providing extremely consistent play from the third spot. She was also the lone Irish singles winner the next day against Virginia.

“Ally is someone who comes in and works her tail off every single day, whether it’s on the practice court or in the weight room or when we’re doing conditioning, she’s always very intentional,” Silverio said. “She’s gotten very specific with areas of her game that we need to continue to work on and improve, and she’s been very diligent throughout the season. It’s not a surprise to me that some of her best tennis is starting to come out right now.”

With the exception of Bojzuk, Virginia’s team proved to be too much for Notre Dame. The Cavaliers won all three doubles matches, and took three of the four finished singles matches to secure the win. It was reminiscent of the two teams’ most recent meeting: a 5-2 Virginia win April 5 that saw the Cavaliers take five of six singles matches.

“Virginia is a well-coached team, they’re a very talented team,” Silverio said. “They did a little bit better job handling the moment and the situation. It was a great learning experience for us.”

The team now awaits its fate in the NCAA Tournament field selection. 31 teams will receive automatic qualifying bids to the tournament, leaving 33 spots for at-large teams that will be selected Monday. Silverio said her team will be preparing for the tournament despite not knowing whether they will be in or out.

“We’re on the bubble, but we’re a little bit below where we need to be to feel 100% confident. I have seen stranger things happen during the selection show and during the NCAA Tournament selection,” Silverio said. “We’re still business as usual and preparing, and on Monday if our name is called, we’ll be ready. Regardless of whether we are in or not in, we’re going to use it to fuel us to keep improving and getting better.”

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