ND Women’s Tennis
Irish upset No. 20 USC on the road in stunning fashion
Connor Mulvena | Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Ahead of its first conference matchup of the season, the Notre Dame women’s tennis team won its last non-conference matchup in a string of such matches against No. 20 USC on the road. It was Notre Dame’s (7-3) second win in a row on the road, and the Irish will take that momentum into their matchup against conference opponents NC State and Virginia Tech at home this weekend.
As has been the case of late for this squad, the Irish lost the doubles point to start the day against USC. But, as has also often been the norm for the Irish this season, the team fought back in singles play, claiming four singles victories to claim the match 4-3.
Irish head coach Alison Silverio commented on the team’s failures in doubles play in an interview after the match. Silverio said that there is still work to be done, but she believes her squad is close to fixing things up on doubles.
“We made some changes and made some adjustments. We still have not quite found our right formula. I think we’re very close,” she said. “We just want to continue to stick to our identity and understanding what that is. USC has very strong doubles, and so I think there were a lot of great lessons that we learned, and we certainly will make those adjustments and have those focuses in our practice this week leading up to our first ACC matches.”
Ultimately, Silverio said the match had a fantastic atmosphere, and she lauded the adjustments her team has made since the beginning of the season.
“Certainly there is a lot of rich tradition around USC and Notre Dame in football, and so it was neat to bring that rivalry into women’s tennis and be able to be victorious in our first matchup,” she said. “… We really have shown a Fighting Irish spirit, and I think it’s so special to see that in our group, and in our team and in our program, really cultivating that championship mindset. We’re excited to bring that into the ACC season and continue to fight every single point, every single match. The momentum is certainly positive going into the ACC season, and I think that’s been an accumulation of all the successes and the failures and the lessons that we’ve learned since the beginning of our season started.”
As the team prepares to head into ACC conference play, Silverio took some time to reflect on the areas in which her team has improved. She said her squad has improved on and off the court, specifically mentioning improvement in singles play.
“From more of a team perspective, I’ve seen our team grow so much with their leadership and their resiliency,” Silverio said. “And again, just that belief and confidence that grows, having that fighting spirit and our ability to compete at the highest standard — that’s been, from a team component, and from more of the mental side, that’s been great to see, just fantastic to see us going out in every single match and competing at the highest standard.”
The Irish will host conference opponents NC State and Virginia Tech on Friday and Sunday, respectively.