ND Women’s Tennis
Irish find win against Virginia Tech but drop match to No. 4 NC State
Connor Mulvena | Tuesday, February 25, 2020
After a thrilling upset of now No. 22-ranked USC to end a string of non-conference matches, the Notre Dame women’s tennis team fell to No. 4 NC State but bested Virginia Tech over the weekend as it opened ACC conference play. With the split weekend, the Irish move to 8-4 with a 1-1 ACC record.
The Irish opened conference play Friday, taking on the Wolfpack (15-2, 2-0 ACC) at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Notre Dame’s campus. Things started unexpectedly, considering the squad’s struggle in doubles play as of late, as the Irish won the doubles point to start things off Friday. The pair of senior Zoe Spence and redshirt sophomore Julia Lilien won the first doubles match of the day 6-3, and then junior Cameron Corse and freshman Page Freeman followed that up with a 7-5 victory.
But the tides turned in favor of the Wolfpack when things moved on to singles play, as NC State won the first three matches, putting the Irish in a hole. Although sophomore Maeve Koscielski managed to win her match and pull the Irish within a point, Corse tied in her match, and then junior Ally Bojczuk fought an extremely tough battle which ended in her losing two sets to NC State’s junior Lexi Keberle, which cemented the Irish loss on the day by a total of 4-3.
Despite an opening conference play loss, Irish head coach Alison Silverio spoke very highly of her team’s performance, and she was confident her squad will continue to learn and hone its championship mindset.
“It was a phenomenal battle on both sides. Certainly, credit to NC State for finishing us out. We put ourselves in a very successful position against a tough No. 4 team in the country, and we were two points away,” Silverio said. “So, we were certainly in a position to be successful, but it didn’t go our way. We learned a lot from that match. We had a lot of little victories.”
Silverio was even encouraged by the squad’s play in singles, even though it ultimately led to them losing the match, and she said that the many individual victories on the weekend will only add to the team’s overall confidence.
“We had a very strong start on the majority of our courts and were able to get it done at the number one spot. Cameron Corse was No. 1 that day, and she ended up beating the No. 16-ranked player in the country. So, again a great individual result for her, and certainly that brings confidence and belief into our team,” she said. “And then Maeve Koscielski also was victorious at No. 6, a great confidence builder for her. Overall, with our match against NC State, we competed at a very high standard, which has been our goal every match that we’ve played this season.”
Naturally, heading into the second match of conference play of the year after nearly defeating the No. 4 team in the country could come with a little discouragement. Still, Silverio said she was confident that her squad heads into every match with a win in mind.
“With any adversity, with any challenges, there’s so much room and opportunity for improvement,” she said. “So, we let ourselves feel that disappointment and feel that sadness for a bit, but then the next day, we were back out at the practice court, and it was business as usual to be ready for Virginia Tech, and to bounce back and give another great performance, which we were able to do.”
And the Irish were able to move past these feelings of disappointment Sunday, when the squad earned a solid victory over Virginia Tech (7-3, 0-3 ACC).
The Irish once again were able to clinch the doubles point to begin the match, and they did it in comeback fashion, as they had dropped the first match of the day. The pair of Corse and Freeman were once again victorious in doubles, handing the Irish their first victory of the day, and the squad would eventually follow suit to earn the doubles point.
Corse continued to contribute as singles play came on, winning the first singles match of the day and paving the way for Lilien, Freeman and Spence, who all followed with victories to seal the Irish match victory.
Up next for Notre Dame as they continue conference play will be two matches on the road, first against Syracuse on Friday and then against Boston College on Sunday.