May 14, 2017
By Joanne Norell
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team’s run in the NCAA postseason came to an end Sunday, falling to No. 2 Ohio State 4-0 in the tournament’s second round at Ohio State’s Varsity Tennis Center.
How It Happened
Ohio State won the doubles point, winning quickly on Court 2 as Sandy Niehaus and Anna Sanford defeated juniors Brooke Broda and Allison Miller 6-1. The Buckeyes clinched with No. 18 Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase defeated seniors Mary Closs and Monica Robinson 6-2 on Court 1.
The Buckeyes then won the first singles set at all six positions and didn’t relent. Closs fell first on Court 5 to 112th-ranked Niehaus, 6-1, 6-2. Di Lorenzo, the nation’s top-ranked player, then felled No. 101 Robinson 6-1, 6-1 on Court 1. The Buckeyes clinched at 4-0 as No. 91 Kowase defeated freshman Zoe Spence 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4.
The Irish ended the season with an 18-10 record, which included their best start to a season since 2009, opening the year 14-1. The Irish won 11 straight matches from Feb. 12 to March 17, their best stretch since 2010.
It was the final match in the careers of Robinson, Closs and Jane Fennelly. Robinson finishes her career with a 73-48 overall singles record and a 61-53 mark in doubles; Closs went 70-57 in singles and 56-66 in doubles in her career; Fennelly owned a 36-42 singles record and 47-37 doubles mark in four seasons.
Coach Jay Louderback’s Thoughts
On the strength of Ohio StateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“The thing that’s tough with them is their No. 1 player is No. 1 in the country. They pretty much know going into a match that they have one point. She’s tough. Monica played all right today and only won two games, so that helps give confidence to the rest of their team. They’re all very similar and very good.”
On the 2017 seasonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“I really felt like we overachieved this year. I was worried coming in, when the No. 1 player graduates (in 2016), and you have two good freshmen (Spence and Bess Waldram) here that you think may play in your lineup and then (Waldram) hurts her knee and is out for the year, I thought we would struggle. But we finished almost 15 spots ahead in the rankings this year. Everybody had to step up and play higher than they did the year before and I felt like we did a great job of overachieving and winning a lot more close 4-3 matches in the ACC than we did in the past.”
On the senior classÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“They’ve done a great job for us. The greatest thing about the seniors this year is that no one gave in. They kept working hard and playing very hard. You saw Mary and Monica out here and Jane played one of the best doubles matches she’s played all year. You hope that when they come in as seniors that they’re not tired of playing, and you either get a lot out of them or not a lot out of them, and we got a lot out of them. I felt like all three kept working hard. We have a chance to make a big jump next year, and a lot of it’s from these seniors.”
No. 2 Ohio State 4, No. 32 Notre Dame 0
May 14. 2017
OSU Varsity Tennis Center
1. No. 1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OSU) def. No. 101 Monica Robinson (ND) 6-1, 6-1
2. Brooke Broda (ND) vs. No. 67 Anna Sanford (OSU) 4-6, 3-4 unfinished
3. Allison Miller (ND) vs. No. 95 Gabriella De Santis 3-6, 2-5 unfinished
4. No. 91 Miho Kowase (OSU) def. Zoe Spence (ND) 6-1, 6-4
5. No. 112 Sandy Niehaus (OSU) def. Mary Closs (ND) 6-1, 6-2
6. Rachel Chong (ND) vs. Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU) 2-6, 4-5 unfinished
1. No. 18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OSU) def. Mary Closs / Monica Robinson (ND) 6-2
2. Sandy Niehaus/Anna Sanford (OSU) def. Brooke Broda / Allison Miller (ND) 6-1
3. Jane Fennelly / Zoe Spence (ND) vs. Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU) 3-5, 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.