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ND Women’s Tennis

After COVID roster issues tank season, Irish look to fall competition

| Friday, May 21, 2021

It was a difficult season in a difficult year for the Notre Dame women’s tennis team, who finished the season 11-13 (5-9 ACC) due to COVID-19 roster gaps and cancelations. However, despite the adversity, Irish head coach Allison Silverio was proud of how her team handled the situation and discussed her favorite aspects of the season.

“I would say for this year, just knowing all of the adversity and challenges that we faced, as a team and as individuals, with pandemic and the social justice issues as well; it was really neat to see our team come together for the betterment of our community and keeping one another safe, and keeping everyone healthy,” Silverio said. “And the highlight we had was just us being able to come together, being able to compete, and being grateful to all that helped us achieve that this year in the season.”

In order to make it to matches and games, Irish teams across the board had to pass COVID tests within a certain number of days of gameplay or travel. The tennis team had a different experience than most, though, because the sport itself is naturally socially distanced.

“We were fortunate our training didn’t change too much,” Silverio said. “We did not have to make too many modifications, since we were a less at risk sport, since we’re pretty socially distanced, just from a tennis component.”

Because of that space on the court, if one person tested positive on the team, that was much less likely to implicate the rest of the roster. Individual players could miss matches, but the match could still go on. Ultimately, that was a major factor in the way the year rounded out for the Irish record.

“We relied on the attitude of ‘Hey, next one up, next player in,” Silverio said. “And everyone took on that role and fought their hardest out there. I think from a result standpoint, yes, we certainly wanted to be putting more wins in the winning column. But that was not in the cards this season. And so the areas that we did have control over from our effort, our attitude, again, our resilience was excellent. It just came a bit short, where we weren’t able to have those marquee wins, which would push us as a team into the NCAA tournament and into the postseason. But overall, just the strength and the resilience of our team that we had throughout a pandemic season is really going to push our program forward as we move into next year.”

The one thing they will look forward to is fall competition, which really couldn’t happen on the scale they would have liked it to this year.

“That will be the piece for us, that’s going to be a positive transition and change,” she said. “Because we are going to have that opportunity early on in the fall when we start back to compete and be in the premier events of college tennis in Division One.”

The team will return to play with the entire roster except seniors Cameron Corse and Ally Bojczuk, who will be graduating. Corse will be starting a position in June at Sandler O’Neill in Manhattan, New York and Bojczuk will be attending law school at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. On top of the existing roster, the Irish will be adding four new freshmen into the program, or “new blood,” as Silverio jokingly called them. She expects to build off of this season with a new strength.

“I just have gratitude to our student athletes for committing to our health and safety and committing to being on the right side of the equation through this pandemic and unprecedented time,” Silverio said. “For next year, I expect to see the resilience again and the way we responded to the adversity and the challenges of this season … And of course, we’re very grateful for that opportunity. With the adversity in the challenges that we went through this year, I believe our toughness is going to be leveled up even more from what we had this year. That is really going to differentiate us from the pack.”

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