April 26, 2017
By Joanne Norell
ROME, Ga. -- The 33rd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team halted a five-match losing streak and turned in a resounding victory Wednesday, defeating 15th-seeded Pittsburgh 4-0 in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.
How It Happened
The 10th-seeded Irish (17-8) made quick work of the Panthers (3-16), clinching the win in less than two and a half hours.
Notre Dame snared the doubles point, taking leads on all three courts before ultimately winning on Courts 1 and 2. Juniors Brooke Broda and Allison Miller first won 6-3 over Audrey Ann Blakely and Clara Lucas at the No. 2 slot, while seniors Mary Closs and Monica Robinson wrapped up the point with a 6-4 win over Amber Washington and Callie Frey at No. 1.
Notre Dame kept things rolling in singles, taking first sets on four of six courts and ultimately claiming three consecutive straight-set matches. Closs started things off with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Clara Lucas on Court 5, followed by sophomore Rachel Chong’s 6-3, 6-4 victory over Jovana Knezevic at No. 6. Broda came through with the clincher, defeating Blakely 6-1, 7-5 on Court 2.
In the remaining matches, the Irish either led or had forced a third set before they were abandoned.
Coach Jay Louderback’s Thoughts
On the value of picking up a first-round win…
“We knew the last five matches were the tough part of our schedule, and two that we thought we definitely had a chance at winning were on the road. We knew it was a tough part of the year, but even when you’re losing to good teams, you lose confidence a little bit. I think getting the win today will help us the rest of the go here. Especially the way we did it, getting the doubles point and getting three straight-set wins in singles. Plus, the matches we lost first sets, we came back. It was a great team effort for us today.”
On facing Clemson in the next round after losing to the Tigers 6-1 on Sunday, April 23…
“They beat us 6-1, but I thought it was a close match and it was at their place indoors, so we’re hoping to get them here outdoors and see how it goes. That match is over. We lost that one and moved on to get ready for this one (against Pitt). Clemson’s good, so I think it will be a tight match.”
Notre Dame will face seventh-seeded Clemson in the second round at 4 p.m. ET Thursday. The Irish fell to the Tigers 6-1 in the regular-season finale.
No. 33 Notre Dame 4, Pitt 0
April 26, 2017
Rome Tennis Center
1. No. 87 Monica Robinson (ND) vs. Amber Washington (PITT) 4-6, 7-5, 0-0 unfinished
2. Brooke Broda (ND) def. Audrey Ann Blakely (PITT) 6-1, 7-5
3. Allison Miller (ND) vs. Gabriela Rezende (PITT) 7-6, 5-1, unfinished
4. Zoe Spence (ND) vs. Callie Frey (PITT) 4-6, 6-2, 0-0, unfinished
5. Mary Closs (ND) def. Clara Lucas (PITT) 6-2, 6-3
6. Rachel Chong (ND) def. Jovana Knezevic (PITT) 6-3, 6-4
1. Mary Closs / Monica Robinson (ND) def. Amber Washington / Callie Frey (PITT) 6-4
2. Brooke Broda / Allison Miller (ND) def. Audrey Ann Blakely / Clara Lucas (PITT) 6-3
3. Jane Fennelly / Zoe Spence (ND) vs. Knezevic / Gabriela Rezende (PITT) 5-5, 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.