May 9, 2015
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — University of Notre Dame women’s tennis head coach Jay Louderback knew his young team could compete with any other in the country. His Fighting Irish had shown it all season, even when the outcomes didn’t fall their way.
Saturday’s NCAA Championship first-round matchup with No. 17 TCU at the Mitchell Tennis Center at Texas A&M followed that same script, if not to a more dramatic result than had occurred yet this season. And though the No. 34 Irish fell to the Horned Frogs 4-2, they could not count lack of effort as a contributing factor.
Four singles matches went to third sets, two of which needed tiebreakers, while the outcome of the team score came down to the top two slots in the lineup in a match pushed back by rain and played under windy and humid conditions.
“This was a match like we have played all year,” Louderback said. “[We]Â have done an unbelievable job of if we were in the hole, fighting out of it, staying in matches. They have done a good job all year long, just like we did today. We fought hard, played hard, had a chance to beat a team ranked ahead of us. This was sort of like our whole year the way we played today.”
The Horned Frogs (19-8) got on the board first, winning doubles matches on Courts 1 and 2. Palina Dubavets and Alexis Pereira defeated Julie Vrabel and Allison Miller for the first win at the No. 2 slot, while 30th-ranked Seda Arantekin and Stefanie Tan overcame a 5-2 deficit to No. 29 Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson to win 8-5 at No. 1.
The Irish quickly got a point back in singles as Miller breezed to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Arantekin on Court 5, but TCU got a straight-set win of its own on Court 6 as Pereira defeated Jane Fennelly 6-3, 6-2.
Courts 1 through 4 saw more heated competition as the four remaining matches went to decisive third sets and two utilized tiebreakers. On Court 3, Vrabel forced a third set against Sofiko Kadzhaya after dropping the first set 6-2, but ultimately fell 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 as TCU took a 3-1 lead.
Sophomore Mary Closs closed the gap again with her three-set victory on Court 4, upending Dubavets 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 as the match became more competitive.
That left Gleason and Robinson fighting on Courts 1 and 2, respectively. Both Irish players snagged first-set wins in tiebreaks at 6-all, but their ranked opponents forced extra sessions with close second-set victories. Robinson and No. 46 Simona Parajova played at the quicker pace on Court 2 and traded third-set games until it was 3-all. From there, Parajova took over, however, and clinched the match for TCU with a 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 win.
The Irish (14-11) ended the season without an NCAA tournament victory for just the third time since joining the Division I ranks. Gleason and Robinson will continue play in the NCAA Doubles Championship May 20-25 at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas.
No. 17 TCU 4, No. 34 Notre Dame 2
1. Quinn Gleason (ND) vs. No. 90 Stefanie Tan (TCU), 7-6(4), 4-6, 2-2, unfinished
2. No. 46 Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Monica Robinson (ND), 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3
3. Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) def. Julie Vrabel (ND), 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
4. Mary Closs (ND) def. Palina Dubavets (TCU), 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
5. Allison Miller (ND) def. Seda Arantekin (TCU), 6-2, 6-3
6. Alexis Pereira (TCU) def. Jane Fennelly (ND), 6-3, 6-2
1. No. 30 Seda Arantekin / Stefanie Tan (TCU) def. No. 29 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson (ND), 8-5
2. Palina Dubavets / Alexis Pereira (TCU) def. Julie Vrabel / Allison Miller (ND), 8-4
3. Jane Fennelly / Mary Closs (ND) vs. Sofika Kadzhaya / Simona Parjova (TCU), 7-6, unfinished
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant