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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame women’s tennis is ‘getting after it together’

| Friday, May 19, 2023

Sofia CrimaVaroli | The Observer
Senior Page Freeman serves the ball in a match against Syracuse on April 14. The Irish won 4-2 in Notre Dame.

Notre Dame women’s tennis found success throughout this season by sticking to their values. Irish head coach Alison Silverio has been impressed by her team’s commitment to the program and the leadership that has developed over the past months.

“Our upperclassmen have been growing both physically and strategically on the court,” Silverio said. “They’ve been doing a great job of stepping into leadership and holding themselves accountable to their actions, but then also holding their teammates accountable. Peer accountability, or that teammate-to-teammate [communication], saying, ‘Hey, here’s areas where we can continue to improve or here’s what is going well and here’s where we need to keep pushing,’ … has been a big piece of their development.”

This season, the Irish went 16-11 overall, and 6-7 in conference play. Their best performance of the year was a win against Southern California that came early on in the season and gave the team confidence moving forward. USC was ranked No. 13 in the country when the Irish came away with the 4-3 victory. Notre Dame earned four singles wins in the match, thanks to top-tier play by senior Page Freeman, junior Yashna Yellayi and freshmen Bojana Pozder and Akari Matsuno. USC performed better in the doubles competition but was unable to emerge with the victory.

“Right off the bat, even though we do our best to not pay attention to the numbers, obviously that’s going to be there,” Silverio said about the USC match. “We stayed focused on what we do well and what we can control. That was something that propelled us just coming out of the gates.”

Other top wins this season came against No. 29 Clemson (4-1) and No. 25 Wake Forest (7-0). The Irish struggled occasionally while playing in a conference full of elite competitors. They lost to No. 30 Georgia Tech, No. 11 Duke, No. 1 North Carolina, No. 11 Virginia and No. 8 NC State. All rankings are as they were at the time of the match.

Despite winning their final two matches of the regular season against conference rivals Syracuse and Boston College, the Irish were eliminated in the first round of the ACC Tournament by ninth-seeded Wake Forest, who they had beaten earlier in the year. Sophomore Nibi Ghosh provided the only win in singles play. Junior Julia Andreach and sophomore Carrie Beckman won in doubles, as did freshman Rylie Hanford and Yellayi.

As the team looked forward to the start of the NCAA Tournament in early May, keeping up the same discipline they had shown all season was their top priority. Consistent hard work had helped the team often come out on top, and it put them in a position to succeed at the end of the season.

“We have certainly had successes as individuals, but every single day, every one of our players comes out and works extremely hard and works hard for one another,” Silverio said. “The more that we can continue to be unified and lean into to one another — that’s going to continue our success.”

The Irish qualified for the NCAA Tournament and were placed in the Ann Arbor region. They advanced through the first round with a dominant 4-0 win over Ball State before falling in the regional final against No. 5 Michigan.

Pozder and Freeman led the team in overall singles record, finishing the year 15-6 and 13-9, respectively. Andreach was also a consistent performer at 11-10. In doubles, Andreach and Beckman went 16-5 while Hanford and Yellayi were 15-6. These stats only tell part of the story, though, for an Irish team that has been able to come together in a special way, Silverio said.

“I just love how they’re being a team,” Silverio said. “How they are embracing one another and supporting one another and getting after it together.”

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