Feb. 12, 2017
By Joanne Norell
URBANA, Ill. -- On a day on which no wins came easy — on which no wins even came in straight sets — the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team showed resilience on the road in a 4-3 victory over Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center.
How It Happened
The Irish (4-1) and Illini (2-5) played a trio of close matches to start in doubles, with the initial point taking nearly an hour to decide. On Court 1, 32nd-ranked junior Brooke Broda and senior Monica Robinson defeated Louise Kwong and Ines Vias 6-4, but the remaining matches would take extra games to decide. Illinois pulled even with Madie Baillon and Jaclyn Switkes defeating Irish senior Mary Closs and junior Allison Miller 7-5 at No. 2, while UI’s Alexis Casati and Daniela Pedraza Novak upended senior Jane Fennelly and freshman Bess Waldram in a tiebreaker, 7-6(2), as the Illini took a 1-0 lead.
The margin was even closer in singles as all six matches went to three sets. Illinois picked up the first decision at No. 4 as Switkes defeated Waldram 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to make it 2-0, but the Irish got on the board next as Broda bounced back to upend Casati 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 at the No. 2 position.
The Irish tied the score when Robinson ousted Kwong with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory on Court 1, then went ahead on freshman Zoe Spence’s 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Novak at the No. 5 spot. It was the fifth dual singles win of the season for Spence, who remains undefeated this spring.
Notre Dame closed the door on the team win as Miller downed Baillon 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 for the clincher.
Illinois picked up the last decision on Court 6 as Grace Tapak defeated Fennelly 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.
The Irish will continue road play next weekend as they travel to Indiana and Louisville next Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The Irish will face the Hoosiers at 10 a.m. ET Saturday in Bloomington before continuing south to take on the Cardinals at noon ET Sunday.
ScoreboardNotre Dame 4, Illinois 3
February 12, 2017
Atkins Tennis Center
1. Monica Robinson (ND) def. Louise Kwong (UI), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
2. Brooke Broda (ND) def. Alexis Casati (UI) 6-0, 3-6, 6-2
3. Allison Miller (ND) def. Madie Baillon (UI) 6-2, 6-7, 6-4
4. Jaclyn Switkes (UI) def. Bess Waldram (ND) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
5. Zoe Spence (ND) def. Daniela Pedraza Novak (UI), 7-6, 3-6, 6-2
6. Grace Tapak (UI) def. Jane Fennelly (ND) 1-6, 7-5, 6-2
1. No. 32 Brooke Broda / Monica Robinson (ND) def. Louise Kwong / Ines Vias (UI) 6-4
2. Madie Baillon / Jaclyn Switkes (UI) def. Mary Closs / Allison Miller (ND) 7-5
3. Alexis Casati / Daniela Pedraz Novak (UI) def. Jane Fennelly / Bess Walram (ND) 7-6(2)
-- ND --
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication, and earned her master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.