March 19, 2017
By Joanne Norell
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The University of Notre Dame women's tennis team fell for the first time in 11 matches and dropped its first Atlantic Coast Conference match of the season Sunday in a 4-3 decision against Virginia at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
How It Happened
The Irish (14-2, 5-1 ACC) and Cavaliers (7-5, 5-0 ACC) fought for nearly 50 minutes to decide the doubles point. Virginia snared the first decision with a 6-1 win on Court 1, but the remaining two matches stretched into back-and-forth affairs. Juniors Brooke Broda and Allison Miller forced a tiebreaker on Court 2, while senior Jane Fennelly and freshman Zoe Spence took a 6-5 lead on Court 3, but Virginia came away with the breaker win at No. 2 to claim the point.
The Cavaliers went up 3-0 with wins on Courts 5 and 6. Teodora Radosavljevic defeated senior Mary Closs 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 5 position, while Brooke Sutherland upended sophomore Rachel Chong 6-4, 6-2 at No. 6.
But the Irish picked up near-simultaneous wins on Courts 1 and 2 to pull within a point. Senior Monica Robinson snared the first point by a hair, defeating No. 94 Rosie Johanson 6-4, 7-5, while Broda followed with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over No. 75 Cassie Mercer.
Virginia held on, however, clinching the match in the next decision on Court 4, where Chloe Gullickson defeated Spence in a narrow 7-5, 7-6(4) match.
After it was decided, Miller completed a three-set comeback to defeat Meghan Kelley 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, resulting in the final 4-3 score.
Coach Jay Louderback's Thoughts
On playing four matches in seven days...
"Playing that many in a row, we were in a playing mode. When we played (at) Wake Forest (on Friday), they had been off for 12 days and we were playing every other day. I think that was a big factor when we played them because we were in that playing mode and we did a good job.
"I think today may have hit us a little. We started slow and the doubles point was so tight and that ended up being a big point. We started slow in singles but I was proud of our kids fighting back. ... We were tired, but I thought the kids fought and played very, very hard."
On playing close conference matches...
"We'll have probably eight more of these. The ACC is so close; every team is so tight. We don't want to be happy with losing, but we know a tight match is probably going to happen again in our next match. Our travel made a little bit of difference, but we're just going to have a lot of them."
On the strength of the singles lineup...
"Our doubles is getting better and I feel much, much better about our doubles and that's something that's going to help us, but our singles is good. I feel like we have no holes in our lineup and anybody can win at any time and that's what we want."
- The Cavaliers snapped Notre Dame's 11-match win streak, its best since the 2010 season when the Irish won 11 consecutive decisions from April 5-May 22, 2010.
- The Irish closed out a one-week stretch in which they played four matches in seven days, three on the road. The Irish defeated Richmond, No. 43 William & Mary and No. 23 Wake Forest during the week of Spring Break.
- Senior Monica Robinson improved to 11-3 in dual matches on the season.
- Junior Allison Miller improved to 14-2 on the season, which is tied for the team's best record with freshman Zoe Spence.
- Junior Brooke Broda improved to 8-4 on the season and has won her last four singles decisions.
The Irish will welcome North Carolina State at 4 p.m. ET Friday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Virginia 4, No. 34 Notre Dame 3
March 19, 2017
Eck Tennis Pavilion
Notre Dame, Ind.
1. Monica Robinson (ND) def. No. 94 Rosie Johanson (UVA) 6-4, 7-5
2. Brooke Broda (ND) def. No. 75 Cassie Mercer (UVA) 7-5, 6-4
3. Allison Miller (ND) def. Meghan Kelley (UVA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Chloe Gullickson (UVA) def. Zoe Spence (ND) 7-5, 7-6(4)
5. Teodora Radosavljevic (UVA) def. Mary Closs (ND) 6-2, 6-3
6. Camille Favero (UVA) def. Rachel Chong (ND) 6-4, 6-2
1. Cassie Mercer / Chloe Gullickson (UVA) def. Monica Robinson / Mary Closs (ND) 6-1
2. Rosie Johanson / Meghan Kelley (UVA) def. Allison Miller / Brooke Broda (ND) 7-6(4)
3. Jane Fennelly / Zoe Spence (ND) vs. Teodora Radosavljevic / Camille Favero (UVA) 6-5, unfinished
-- 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.