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Inside Irish: NCAA Championship First Round vs. Kansas

May 12, 2017

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 32nd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will make its 22nd straight appearance in the NCAA Championship on Saturday, looking to defeat Kansas for its first NCAA tournament win since 2014.

Match 27
WHAT: NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships – First Round
WHO: No. 32 Notre Dame (17-9) vs. No. 34 Kansas (13-10)
WHERE: Varsity Tennis Center | Columbus, Ohio
WHEN: 9 a.m. ET Saturday
WEB: NCAA Interactive Bracket

NCAA Regional Outlook

For the second straight year, the Irish will head to the campus of Ohio State University for the opening rounds of the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame will face Kansas on their side of the regional pod at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, while No. 3-overall seed Ohio State (28-2) will take on Mid-American Conference automatic qualifier Buffalo (14-8) at noon ET. The winners of Saturday’s matches will advance to face each other at noon ET Sunday for the chance to move on to the Round of 16 at the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Georgia.

On The Jayhawks

  • The Jayhawks enter Saturday’s match with 13-10 record and are ranked two spots behind the Irish at No. 34. Kansas advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament, where the Jayhawks lost to No. 9 Oklahoma, but Kansas is just 2-6 since the beginning of April.
  • Kansas is led by No. 77 Anastasia Rychagova, who is 10-4 in dual matches this season, playing at No. 1 singles. Also boasting double-digit wins is Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum 11-6 playing at No. 2 and 3 singles. In doubles, Bernard-Feigenbaum and Nina Khmelnitckaia combine to make up the No. 37 ranked pair in the country with a 21-10 overall record.
  • The Irish are 8-3 in the all-time series against Kansas, including 8-2 under head coach Jay Louderback. The Irish and Jayhawks last met in 2010 in Lawrence, Kansas, when the Irish came away with a 7-0 victory. The Jayhawks participated in a fall tournament at Notre Dame in November, during which they went 4-2 in singles and 2-1 in doubles against the Irish.

Irish At The NCAA Championship

The Irish made their first Division I NCAA Championship appearance in 1993 and have made the tournament in every since except for 1995. Their 2017 bid marks the 22nd straight time the Jay Louderback-led Irish will compete for an NCAA title. Notre Dame is 34-23 all-time in NCAA tournament appearances, including 19-14 record on neutral courts. In all but three NCAA appearances, the Irish have advanced past the first round, with their best finishes coming in 2009 and 2010 when they advanced the national semifinals.

Last Time Out

Notre Dame advanced to the second round of the ACC Championship two weeks ago at the Rome Tennis Center in Rome, Georgia. The Irish opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh in the first round before falling to Clemson 4-0 in the second.

All-ACC Honors

Senior Monica Robinson earned the second All-ACC team selection of her career late last month when she was named to the All-ACC Second Team. Robinson is 14-7 at No. 1 singles for the Irish and was also recently honored by the athletic department with the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and Byron V. Kanaley Award, two of Notre Dame’s highest athletic honors.

Rankings Rundown

The Irish jumped one spot in the latest Oracle/ITA Division I Women’s Tennis Rankings to No. 32. Monica Robinson is ranked No. 101 in the singles standings.

Keeping Up With The Irish

Live scoring will be available for all matches at the ACC Championships. Live match updates will also be shared on the team’s Twitter account, @NDWomensTennis. The semifinal and final matches will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra and can be viewed on WatchESPN or the WatchESPN app.

To keep up with all things Irish women’s tennis, be sure to follow @NDWomensTennis on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Tennis on Facebook.


Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.