March 6, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team has been facing a tough schedule lately—of the team’s last four opponents have been ranked in the top 15, with Duke sitting at the No. 1 spot.
This weekend is no exception for the 5-5, 31st-ranked Irish. On Friday, Notre Dame will go up against No. 15 Clemson at 4 p.m., and on Sunday the women will play No. 25 Florida State at 1 p.m. Both matches take place in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
“For us, it’s a great opportunity because both teams are ranked ahead of us right now,” says head coach Jay Louderback. “We’re right behind Florida State, so for us it’s just great to play two more teams who could really help us as the ACC goes on and we get close to NCAA time.”
The Irish have had a rough streak lately, but Louderback says there has been noticeable growth in his team even in just the past few weeks.
“We’ve made a big jump in intensity,” he explains. “The Duke match we played much, much better, and I just feel like our intensity in practice—and it’s carried over into matches—has made a big improvement. I think you’ll see this weekend that our doubles is definitely better than it has been in the past.”
Louderback will be shaking up the doubles teams for tomorrow’s match, putting freshmen Jane Fennelly and Monica Robinson together and senior Jennifer Kellner and Julie Sabacinski on the same team. With Fennelly getting into doubles play, all three of the team’s freshmen will now be in the lineup.
“It’s great to see,” Louderback says. “We knew coming in and in the fall that it was a great class. All three are good. Mary (Closs) is not playing doubles right now and Jane’s not playing singles right now, but they could both contribute in either the doubles or singles lineup. All three of the freshmen are playing a lot and contributing a lot, and not just playing wise—all three bring a good intensity to practice.”
Clemson is 10-3 on the season and undefeated (3-0) in the ACC, while the Seminoles are 8-4 (3-1 in the ACC). Action against Clemson kicks off tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant