Nov. 5, 2014
ITA CENTRAL – Live Scores, Draws and Updates
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For 28th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis doubles pair Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson, missing out on the chance to compete at this year’s USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships would have been a shame.
Three match points stood in the way of that opportunity at the Midwest Regional qualifier, when they met Michigan’s Emina Bektas and Alexandria Najarian in the final. Three times did Gleason and Robinson have the chance to ice the match, but were unable to find a way to clinch.
The Irish duo’s at-large bid to compete in this weekend’s main draw at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center, then, came as a pleasant surprise.
“It was kind of like a plot twist we weren’t expecting, but Monica and I are really, really excited about the opportunity,” said Gleason, a junior. “We’re just hoping to go and play well together and represent Notre Dame well.”
Not only is it the pair’s first time competing at the National Indoor tournament, but it is the first time since 2011 that Notre Dame is sending representatives. That year, the Irish saw Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews capture the Midwest Regional doubles crown and advance all the way to the National final before falling in three sets.
Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback hopes that Robinson and Gleason’s appearance at the tournament begins a new trend for the Irish, in which they once again have representatives at all the major individual tournaments during the fall. The Irish sent at least one player to the National Indoor tournament every year between 2003 and 2011.
“This is a good start, especially with these two who are a sophomore and a junior,” Louderback said. “They’re still young and for them to get a chance to go to the Nationals is [great]. They’ve gone to the [Riviera/ITA] All-American [Championships in Pacific Palisades, California, in late September] and then this one now. It’s good for them to get to the first two [of the major individual tournaments before the NCAA Championships in May].”
While Gleason and Robinson were first paired together this fall, their continued play together is quickly resulting in an ease found in veteran doubles tandems. Not only have they built a trust with each other that they can see both on and off the court, but they have also developed an intuitive familiarity that helps them anticipate from one move to the next.
“We’ve really seen the improvement,” Robinson said. “I think when we first started playing with each other, the first few times it was just getting used to each other, getting used to each other’s movements on the court and just developing our strategies and our plays. It all started in California and I think it just built from there. We just kept practicing and working hard and we’ve put in the work. We can see it paying off and getting the results.”
Experience, too, is now on their side. While the loss in the regional finals – and the manner in which they experienced it – stung, Gleason and Robinson are confident that faced with a similar situation now, the outcome would be markedly different.
“Monica and I talked about it and we’re just really focused on using that experience to improve and if we ever get in a situation like that again, we’ll know how to handle it better,” Gleason said.
Gleason and Robinson will face off with Linda Fritschken and Emma Olina of Barry University in the Round of 32 at 1 p.m. Thursday. For access to draws, live scores and more information on the 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, visit the official ITA event page. You can also follow along on Twitter, @NDWomensTennis, and Facebook.
The rest of the women’s tennis team will take part in the Western Michigan Invitational in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Stay tuned to UND.com, Twitter and Facebook for updates.
By Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant