ND Women’s Tennis
Irish fall to Georgia Tech, No. 3 Duke at home
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, April 4, 2019
The Irish women’s tennis team suffered a pair of setbacks after hosting Georgia Tech and No. 3 Duke this past weekend.
The matchup against Georgia Tech (9-8, 6-4 ACC) was personal for Irish (10-10, 3-8 ACC) head coach Alison Silverio, who was a national champion as a senior playing for the Yellow Jackets in 2007. Silverio’s alma mater picked up a 5-2 win in South Bend last Friday, pushing the Irish to 3-7 in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets were led by the nation’s 12th-ranked singles player, Kenya Jones. Jones made quick work of Irish junior Zoe Spence, defeating her 6-2, 6-1.
Despite the team’s loss, it was another good day for sophomore Cameron Corse. Corse is 20-4 in singles this spring, and she beat Georgia Tech freshman Valeriya Deminova 6-4, 6-2 to secure a team singles point.
After the loss to Georgia Tech, the team returned to the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Sunday to face Duke (17-2, 8-1 ACC). The match against the Blue Devils was more encouraging, however, as the team fell just 4-3 against a highly ranked ACC foe. Duke also boasts two singles players ranked in the top 25 nationally, both of whom were able to win their singles matches.
Regardless, another win from Corse and contributions from the bottom of the Irish lineup kept the matchup close. Players in the fifth and sixth singles spots, graduate student Brooke Broda and freshman Zoe Taylor, respectively, both won their matches, giving the Irish three of the four points needed for a win. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils took both the doubles point and three singles matches to win the day. Despite the result, playing Duke so well was one of the team’s most impressive showings of the season.
The Irish now sport a 3-8 ACC record, sitting in 11th place in the ACC and 10-10 on the season. With three games left in their regular season, they could push themselves as high as ninth by picking up multiple wins in their final three games. That effort will begin this weekend as the head south to face Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers are currently 6-4 in conference, and the Hokies a lowly 1-9. After weeks of incredibly tough competition, the Irish will now get a chance to take on some more beatable ACC opponents this weekend. That’s not to say that these teams will make it easy on the Irish; the Cavaliers are coming off of a 2-0 home weekend that saw them beat Georgia Tech 7-0 and they play well at home, so they’re well-suited for the Irish visit.
If the Irish are to have success against Virginia, they’ll have to find a way to slow down No. 39 Meghan Kelley, No. 68 Amber O’Dell and No. 108 Chloe Gullickson. The trio play in the first, third and fourth singles spots respectively, with each sporting a singles win percent above 65 percent. Irish number one Zoe Spence, number three Cameron Corse, and number four junior Bess Waldram will have their hands full.
As to Sunday’s date with Virginia Tech, the Hokies’ last team-ACC win came on Feb. 22, when they bested a Pitt team who is winless in-conference. Statistically, the Hokie’s best singles performer is Samantha Gillas, who is 13-6 on the season and plays out of the fourth spot. Once again, Bess Waldram will need to be ready to take on a quality opponent this weekend if the Irish are to improve their ACC standing.
Notre Dame will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday at 5 p.m. to take on Virginia before traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m. to take on Virginia Tech.