Irish take down No. 13 USC before losing to No. 6 Georgia
Olivia Schatz | Monday, January 30, 2023
After a dominating start to their season, Notre Dame women’s tennis beat No. 13 USC before losing to No. 6 Georgia at the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
Unranked Irish stun Trojans
The Irish traveled to Atlanta, GA where they started off the weekend against the Trojans. While the start of the afternoon did not bode well for the Irish, they quickly turned it around. Irish senior Page Freeman and freshman Bojana Pozder lost 6-3 to USC, before junior Yashna Yellayi and freshman Rylie Hanford lost 7-5. The third doubles round was never finished.
Despite the Trojans notching an early point, the Irish did not sit idly. Freshman Akari Matsuno started the momentum for the Irish in the sixth spot as she won swiftly in two sets (6-3, 6-3). However, the Trojans were able to pull back into the lead as No. 2 ranked Madison Sieg beat junior Julia Andreach also in two sets (6-4, 7-5) on the second court. Then, on the fourth court, No. 102 freshman Nibi Ghosh took on No. 83 Emma Charney. Despite the match staying close, Charney clutched the win for the Trojans bringing USC to a 3-1 lead on the day. However, this was the last point the Trojans would win.
Despite playing multiple ranked athletes, Notre Dame did not falter. Yellayi was the first to beat a ranked opponent on Court No. 3 although she lost the first set, 4-6 to No. 17 Snow Han, Yellayi would come back and win 6-2 in the second and third sets. On the top court, Freeman took on No. 24 Eryn Cayetano. While Freeman took care of the first set 7-5, Cayetano would win the second 6-3. Freeman pulled through in the third set with a 6-4 victory.
Finally, Pozder was fighting in the third spot. Again, the Irish-Trojan matchup went to three sets, but it was Pozder who would take the point. The freshman clinched the victory bringing Notre Dame to 4-3 on the day.
Irish falter in singles on Sunday
While the victory over USC surely proved Notre Dame’s talent, their momentum did not help when they played against No. 6 Georgia on Sunday.
The Irish started out strong, unlike in their bout against the Trojans. Andreach and sophomore Carrie Beckman would bring the first win of the night for the Irish (6-3). This would be followed by Yellayi and freshman Rylie Hanford clinching the only point for the Irish (6-3). Freeman and Pozder’s match would go unfinished.
However, Georgia smothered any hope the Irish had in winning the match. The Bulldogs won four matches in a row, none of which went on to a third set. Freeman and Matsuno’s matches would go unfinished.
Although the Irish ultimately fell to Georgia, knocking down USC and beating multiple ranked players proved Notre Dame as fierce competition. Although they didn’t receive any votes in the most recent ranking, the Irish upset victory may change that this week.
Notre Dame’s schedule does not get easier. The Irish travel to Champaign, IL on Feb. 5 to face off against Illinois. Looking down the line, Notre Dame also faces off against No. 5 Duke, No. 2 North Carolina and No. 25 Georgia Tech. To last in this division, Notre Dame must continue to win against ranked and competitive teams.
The first step in their journey will be on Friday, Feb. 5 against Illinois at 11 a.m. EST.