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ND Women’s Tennis

ND finishes weekend in Georgia with win, loss

| Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Notre Dame women’s tennis team competed on the road in Athens, Georgia, over the weekend, taking on Furman on Saturday and No. 3 Georgia on Sunday. The Irish (3-1) walked away with a 4-2 win over Furman (3-3) and a 5-2 loss to Georgia (2-0).

Despite the mixed results, Irish head coach Alison Silverio spoke highly of the progress her team has made early on in the season, and she is confident that, with continued progress, the squad will be quite alright.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish junior Ally Bojczuk ends her forehand swing during her match against Bowling Green on Sunday at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Silverio was impressed by her squad’s ability to fight back against Furman despite beginning the match with a poor performance in doubles play. The Irish would turn things around in singles play and ultimately grab a decisive victory.

“It was a great match from both sides, and I think for our team, we came out in the doubles and we were not able to quite capitalize on a couple of opportunities at one and two; we ended up losing the doubles points to Furman,” Silverio said. “We had to reset and respond quickly going into singles.”

Silverio said the first four matches set a strong tone going into the singles, as three of the four were won by the Irish.

“It ended up coming down to our five and six, and [sophomore] Zoe Taylor, who was playing at six, ended up battling back and pushed her match to a third set,” Silverio said. “And our number five, [redshirt sophomore] Julia Lilien, was battling into the third set. So it was really just great to see our team coming together, and being able to fight, and battling adversity, and being able to respond from not quite getting the momentum we wanted from doubles, being able to reset and shift gears and really capitalize on our opportunities in singles.

“It was a great first match of the weekend. … It gave us a lot of confidence and belief going into Sunday’s match.”

But with Sunday’s matchup came some heightened competition, as the Irish took on the Georgia Bulldogs, who currently sit at the No. 3 spot in the nation. The Irish did not come out on top, but Silverio said that the many small victories — seen through the positive changes her squad was able to make in the midst of competition — were signs of encouragement for the team heading forward.

“We didn’t quite get the result we wanted to there against Georgia; they beat up on us pretty good in the doubles, so we certainly need to make some adjustments and adapt to some of the things that we saw,” Silverio said. “And leading into our matches this weekend, we will definitely take this week and utilize our practice times and our individual times to work through some of those adjustments.”

The match against Georgia put the team in a hole, Silverio said, but the Irish were there in “every single match.”

“Obviously, from a result standpoint, we were victorious in two of those matches, but we had a lot of little victories along the way, even in the matches that didn’t fall our way,” Silverio said. “That competitive presence that we had is a great start for us, and we want to continue to build on that leading into our weekend here at home. We’re not quite where we want to be, but it was a great opportunity to see a team like Georgia, number three in the country, and see what they’re doing well. … If we continue to stay focused on the details in the areas that we have control over, we’re going to be able to start turning the corner and get over those humps against the better teams.”

Silverio also commented on the play of Zoe Taylor, who played in the number one spot on the road this weekend. Silverio said the sophomore faces a tough challenge as a player in the number one spot in a conference as fierce as the ACC. Nevertheless, she is encouraged by Taylor’s progress and the small victories she claimed over the weekend.

“That top spot is difficult, and it’s always going to be a battle,” Silverio said. “And in the ACC, I’d even say that every match, one through six, is always going to be a battle. But, for Zoe, the first day coming out she didn’t quite play as aggressively as she had been practicing. And the girl from Furman, [senior Katarina Kozarov], capitalized on that and was able to shut the door a little bit quicker on Zoe than typically happens. But Zoe really rebounded well the next day. We had some good conversations the night before the Georgia match, and she made some positive adjustments against UGA, playing another very good player, top-20 player in the country. … Those little victories that we were able to have and that she was able to have just by making those positive adjustments, I think they will be very critical as we move forward.”

Moving on from a weekend of tough competition, the Irish will take on the Akron Zips at home this Friday as they continue non-conference play early in the season.

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