April 21, 2016
By Joanne Norell
CARY, N.C. — The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team fancies itself an outdoor squad.
The snowy and rainy South Bend, Indiana, weather that, more often than not, has confined the Irish inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion this season has hardly been an advantage over their southern Atlantic Coast Conference counterparts. The Irish would much rather face those foes outside.
So, when faced with No. 29 and sixth-seeded Clemson in the second round of the ACC Championship on Thursday, the No. 47 and 10th-seeded Irish felt right at home at Cary Tennis Park, defeating the Tigers 4-1 to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.
“It was huge for us, especially since we played them indoors [earlier this season] at home and lost 4-3,” sophomore Brooke Broda said. “We’re primarily an indoor team, but we play so well outdoors, so it was important for us to show we can play outside with these southern teams.”
The Irish expected a tight match from the Tigers, to whom they lost 4-3 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on April 8, and that’s exactly what they got. Five of six singles matches reached third sets, but the Irish found ways to pull through at every turn.
The Irish went down early in doubles as senior Quinn Gleason and junior Monica Robinson fell 6-1 to Joana Eidukonyte and Fernanda Navarro, but the Irish won on Courts 2 and 3 to secure the point. Sophomores Brooke Broda and Allison Miller gave Notre Dame a 6-3 win over Ayan Broomfield and Daniela Ruiz on Court 3, while senior Julie Vrabel and junior Mary Closs came back from down 4-2 to defeat Tristan Dewar and Allie Miller-Krasilnikov 6-4 on Court 2 to clinch the point.
Notre Dame took the first set on four singles courts, but each were answered by a set win for Clemson to force a third set. On Court 3, Notre Dame’s Miller forced her own third set after winning the second in a tiebreaker.
Clemson got the first point in singles, as Ruiz upended junior Jane Fennelly 6-3, 6-3 on Court 6, but the Irish immediately went back out in front as Closs earned a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over Miller-Krasilnikov on Court 4.
Gleason, ranking at No. 48, pushed the Irish lead to 3-1 with her 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 victory over No. 50 Broomfield. Broda and Robinson each raced to third-set leads on their respective courts, but it was Broda who clinched the match with her 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 victory over Dewar on Court 5.
“Quinn had a great first set and then it got tough for her, but she just held in there and her energy was so influential on [Miller’s] match and my match [on adjacent courts],” Broda said. “Allie was down in the second and it was looking a little grim at times, but she pulled it out and that carried me so much. … Coming back, I just really had to focus on Allie and Quinn’s matches and feed off everyone’s energy because we’ve got to fight like the Irish.”
Robinson was at match point at 6-3, 2-6, 5-3 when her match was abandoned.
The Irish (14-12) will face No. 3 seed Georgia Tech (16-7) at 9 a.m. ET in Friday’s quarterfinal match, another rematch of a 4-3 Irish loss at home. Each of Friday’s matches have been moved up one hour due to impending thunderstorms.
No. 47 Notre Dame 4, No. 29 Clemson 1
1. No. 48 Quinn Gleason (ND) def. No. 50 Ayan Broomfield (CU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-1
2. No. 83 Monica Robinson (ND) vs. No. 23 Joana Eidukonyte (CU) 6-3, 2-6, 5-3, unfinished
3. No. 107 Allison Miller (ND) vs. Fernanda Navarro (CU) 2-6, 7-6(x), 2-4, unfinished
4. Mary Closs (ND) def. Allie Miller-Krasilnikov (CU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
5. Brooke Broda (ND) def. Tristan Dewar (CU) 7-5, 3-6, 6-0
6. Daniela Ruiz (CU) def. Jane Fennelly (ND) 6-3, 6-3
1. Joana Eidukonyte / Fernanda Navarro (CU) def. No. 38 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson (ND) 6-1
2. Mary Closs / Julie Vrabel (ND) def. Tristan Dewar / Allie Miller-Krasilnikov (CU) 6-4
3. Brooke Broda / Allison Miller (ND) def. Ayan Broomfield / Daniela Ruiz (CU) 6-3
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.