April 15, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team used its early momentum to withstand a singles surge by visiting Virginia Tech, and the No. 51 Irish defeated the No. 30 Hokies 4-3 on Friday at the Courtney Tennis Center on Senior Day.
The Irish improved to .500 heading into the final match of the season Sunday before they head to Cary, North Carolina next week for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
Senior Quinn Gleason picked up wins in both doubles and singles Friday to close out her career on her home court, while classmate Julie Vrabel helped the Irish clinch the doubles point with a win on Court 2.
“I had a lot of energy coming out and I was definitely a little bit nervous, wanting to win my last match on my home court,” Gleason said. “I’m really excited the team came through for me and the rest of the seniors, Julie, Darby [Mountford] and Alaina [Roberts]. It really feels good to win on the last day.”
Virginia Tech went up early on Courts 2 and 3 in doubles, but the Irish pushed their way back in to make the point competitive and ultimately capture the early lead. At No. 1, 32nd-ranked senior Quinn Gleason and junior Monica Robinson defeated Francesca Fusinato and Kelly Williford 6-4 to give the Irish the advantage. Despite going down 1-3 on Court 2, senior Julie Vrabel and junior Mary Closs came back to win 7-5 over Caroline Daxhelet and Raluca Mita to clinch the lead. On Court 3, sophomores Brooke Broda and Allison Miller went down 0-3 to start, but won four of the next five games to pull even at 4-4 before the Irish won the point.
The Irish held onto the momentum as they won the first set on Courts 1, 2, 3 and 5.
The Hokies snatched the first singles point, however, as Williford downed Closs 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4. But the Irish bit back with two quick strikes on Courts 1 and 2. At No. 2, No. 81 Robinson cut down No. 95 Elena Cerezo-Codina 6-4, 6-3, while the 50th-ranked Gleason followed close behind with a win over No. 45 Fusinato by the same score.
The Hokies evened the score with the next two decisions, as the final three matches went to third sets. On Court 6, they got a point back despite Irish junior Jane Fennelly’s comeback bid, with Katherine Butler earning the 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(4) victory to pull Virginia Tech within 3-2. Then, Virginia Tech tied the match as Caroline Daxhelet came back to defeat No. 108 Miller, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The decision came down to Court 5 and Broda, who was forced into a third set by Mita after dropping a tiebreaker in the second set. As she’s done all year, Broda came through in the clutch, securing the team win with a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3 victory. She improved her record to 17-1 on the spring, and 11-1 in ACC matches.
The Irish will head to Charlottesville, Virginia, to wrap up the season at 10 a.m. ET Sunday against the Cavaliers at the Snyder Tennis Complex.
“[That win] definitely gave us a lot of confidence,” Gleason said. “We needed that win to have a chance to get into the NCAA tournament. [The fans] really got us through that [match] and we needed that one.”
No. 51 Notre Dame 4, No. 30 Virginia Tech 3
1. No. 50 Quinn Gleason (ND) def. No. 45 Francesca Fusinato (VT) 6-4, 6-3
2. No. 81 Monica Robinson (ND) def. No. 95 Elena Cerezo-Codina (VT) 6-4, 6-3
3. Caroline Daxhelet (VT) deft. No. 108 Allison Miller (ND) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Kelly Williford (VT) def. Mary Closs (ND) 6-4, 6-4
5. Brooke Broda (ND) def. Raluca Mita (VT) 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3
6. Katherine Butler (VT) def. Jane Fennelly (ND) 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(4)
1. No. 32 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson (ND) def. Francesca Fusinato / Kelly Williford (VT) 6-4
2. Mary Closs / Julie Vrabel (ND) def. Caroline Daxhelet /Raluca Mita (VT) 7-5
3. Brooke Broda / Allison Miller (ND) vs. Elena Cerezo-Codina / Sansitha Nandakumar (VT) 4-4, unfinished.
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.