April 23, 2015
CARY, N.C. — The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team’s match Thursday with Florida State in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships certainly lived up to its billing.
Indeed,Â after the first meeting between the two teams in Tallahassee, Florida, anything less than a close match at the Cary Tennis Center in Cary, North Carolina would have disappointed.Â
In the first meeting on March 20, it was the Fighting Irish that emerged with a 4-3 road victory. This time, however, it was the No. 73 Seminoles who came awayÂ victorious over No. 36 Notre DameÂ in another 4-3 decision that came down to a three-set final battle at the No. 5 singles position.
Notre Dame won the doubles point to take an early advantage into singles play. The 26th-ranked duo of Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson rolled over Daneika Northwick and Yukako Noi 8-2 to start things off on Court 1, though Florida State evened things on Court 2 as Emily Fanning and Gabriella Castaneda defeated Julie Vrabel and Allison Miller 8-4.
On Court 3, Jane Fennelly and Mary Closs went down early to Mia Vriens and Kerrie Cartwright, at on point trailing 4-2. But from there it was all Irish as the pair captured six straight games and clinched after six match points in the final game to secure an 8-4 victory.
As the Irish clung to a 1-0 lead, singles play started off evenly split, with Notre Dame taking first-set victories on three courts, while Florida State did the same. The Seminoles tied the team score as Borthwick defeated Gleason 6-0, 6-4 at No. 1, then made it a 2-1 contest when Noi felled Vrabel 6-1, 6-1 on Court 3.
The next three matches ended in quick succession, with the Seminoles briefly taking a 3-1 lead when Daniela Schippers defeated Fennelly 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6. But the Irish quickly got the points back as Closs finished a 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 116 Castaneda on Court 4, and Robinson closed out a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 118 Cartwright a minute later at No. 2.
That left Notre Dame’s Miller tied with Vriens at a set apiece on Court 5. It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the final set with each player notching break points in several instances. Broken after the first game, Miller broke back and held, to take a 2-1 lead. Vriens broke Miller again and went up 3-2, but the Irish freshman continued to battle and broke back again to lead 4-3. But Vriens tied things again with another break, held to go up 5-4, then broke Miller for match point to clinch the victory for the Seminoles.
“Mary and Monica both had good wins right at the same time to make it 3-all,” head coach Jay Louderback said. “Allie played well, fought off three match points (in deuce) and that’s a tough situation to be in. She’s been in that situation before and she’s won some, and we’ve had a lot of those this year. We’ve won some, lost some. She competed well and I thought she hit the ball well there at the end.”
Overall, Louderback said he was pleased with how his team handled an up-and-down year that saw several young Irish players step into new roles without the services of injured freshman Brooke Broda, who was expected to make significant contributions in her would-be rookie season.
“I think we competed well all year. I think we’ve only played one bad match the whole year. This was a tough one, but I just feel really good about how we competed. Kids had to step up and I thought they did a good job of that.”
The Irish will await to hear their NCAA Championships fate, with regional action kicking off May 8-10. For the latest on all Irish women’s tennis action, follow @NDWomensTennis on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Tennis on Facebook.
No. 73 Florida State 4, No. 36 Notre Dame 3
1. No. 88 Daneika Borthwick (FSU) def. Quinn Gleason (ND), 6-0, 6-4
2. Monica Robinson (ND) def. No. 118 Kerrie Cartwright (FSU), 6-4, 6-3
3. Yukako Noi (FSU) def. Julie Vrabel (ND), 6-1, 6-1
4. Mary Closs (ND) def. No. 116 Gabriella Castaneda (FSU), 7-5, 6-1
5. Mia Vriens (FSU) def. Allison Miller (ND), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
6. Daniela Schippers (FSU) def. Jane Fennelly (ND), 6-3, 6-2
1. No. 26 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson def. Daneika Borthwick / Yukako Noi (FSU), 8-2
2. Emily Fanning / Gabriella Castaneda (FSU) def. Julie Vrabel / Allison Miller (ND), 8-4
3. Jane Fennelly / Mary Closs (ND) def. Mia Vriens / Kerrie Cartwright (FSU), 8-4
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant