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ND Women’s Tennis

Irish close season, fall short of NCAA bid

| Wednesday, May 1, 2019

On Monday, the Notre Dame’s season officially ended as they were not awarded a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament. The development came after Notre Dame (13-12, 5-9 ACC) was eliminated from the ACC Tournament behind a 4-1 loss to No. 23 Virginia on April 18.

The Cavaliers (17-8, 8-6 ACC) took care of business quickly against the Irish. Sophomore Vivian Glozman and freshman Sofia Munera went up against sophomore Ally Bojczuk and freshman Zoe Taylor, posting a 6-1 victory on court two. Senior Meghan Kelley and junior Hunter Bleser got it done even faster against junior Bess Waldram and graduate student Brooke Broda, posting a 6-0 win on court three to leave the match between freshman No. 52 Amber O’Dell and junior Chloe Gullickson and sophomore No. 50 Cameron Corse and junior Zoe Spence unfinished as the two victories were enough to grab the doubles point.

Bojczuk found success in singles over No. 116 O’Dell, but she was the only Notre Dame player who found victory on the day. Virginia grabbed their other three victories in straight sets, getting their overall win, 4-1.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish junior Bess Waldram returns a volley in Eck Tennis Pavilion during Notre Dame’s match against Bowling Green on Jan. 23.

The Irish were hopeful that they would receive an NCAA tournament bid due to their quality resume and they fought through one of the toughest schedules in women’s tennis, playing top level programs like No. 3 Duke, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 21 Miami, No. 22 Wake Forest and No. 9 NC State. The Irish were 8-4 when playing at home in the Eck Tennis Pavilion and just 3-7 on the road.

Although the Irish will not partake in the postseason, their season did end with some positives — Spence and Corse were named third team All-ACC due to their outstanding play. Spence finished the season ranked as the 70th best singles player in the country and went 17-13 playing most of her individual matches. She has defeated four ranked opponents, including victories over Purdue’s Silvia Ambrosio, then-ranked ninth nationally, and North Carolina’s Sara Daaverrila, then-ranked sixth in singles at the collegiate level. Corse’s season included a 23-6 singles record, and 10 of these victories were in tough ACC matchups. She ended the spring season on a tear winning all six of her final matches. Together, Spence and Corse combined to create a formidable doubles tandem, earning 12-7 record on the season. They finished the season ranked as the 45th best doubles pair in the country, helping Notre Dame earn the doubles point throughout the season.

Other players also had very successful campaigns this year. Bojczuk went 18-12 in singles play, improving on her 15-6 record from her debut spring season. Broda played very well in her final year with the Irish and went 19-10 in singles play. Despite having her season marred by injury, senior Rachel Chong completed her Notre Dame career on a high note by winning her final collegiate match in the ACC Tournament game versus Pitt. Taylor and Maeve Koscielski also performed very well in important matches during their first year with the Irish.

It was Notre Dame’s first season under head coach Alison Silverio, who took over for Jay Louderback, who led the program for 29 years before retiring following the conclusion of the 2018 spring season. A collegiate tennis player herself, the new Irish leader had a storied career in tennis as a Yellow Jacket. She was recently inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. Silverio was a senior leader on the 2007 Yellow Jacket NCAA national championship team, securing the victory with a key win over her UCLA opponent on court two. Her various accolades during her collegiate career include an NCAA Championship MVP award, two All-ACC honors, four ACC All-Academic honors and the ITA Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship. She was also a part of three ACC championship teams and was named the MVP in the 2005 ACC championship match. In the Georgia Tech record books, Silverio ranks second in career singles wins (107) and first in career doubles victories (98).

Since Notre Dame is only graduating two players, most of the young core of the team will return next year, in addition to several new freshmen, like five-star recruit Page Freeman. They have garnered a lot of experience playing in high profile matches and will likely be much improved in the next season.

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