Feb. 25, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team hits the road this weekend for an eastern swing into Atlantic Coast Conference territory, visiting Boston College and Syracuse on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
WHAT: Matches 11 & 12
WHO: No. 30 Notre Dame (7-3, 2-0 ACC) at No. 71 Boston College (5-4, 0-2 ACC) | No. 30 Notre Dame at No. 33 Syracuse (7-1, 1-1 ACC)
WHEN: 5 p.m. ET February 26, 2016 | 11 a.m. ET February 28, 2016
WHERE: Dedham Health and Fitness Center (Dedham Mass. | Drumlins Country Club (Syracuse, N.Y.)
FOLLOW: Live Stats vs. Boston College | Live Stats vs. Syracuse
Scouting Boston College
After starting the season 4-1, the Eagles have lost three of their last four and fallen from No. 48 to No. 71 in the most recent Oracle/ITA Women’s Team Rankings. Boston College is also 0-2 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, having fallen to Virginia 4-3 in the season opener on January 17, and 7-0 to Syracuse last Saturday. The Eagles are led by No. 70 Asiya Dair, who is 5-2 in singles on the season, including 5-1 at the No. 2 spot. Katya Vasilyev has also performed well for the Eagles with a 6-3 record playing mostly from the No. 3 position in the lineup. The Irish are 12-0 all-time against the Eagles, with all matches coming in head coach Jay Louderback‘s 27-year tenure.
The Orange have been impressive this year, getting off to a 7-0 start before falling to then-No. 9 Virginia last Sunday in a 5-2 decision. Syracuse is 1-1 in conference play, its win coming in a 7-0 blanking of then-No. 48 Boston College on Saturday. The Orange boast three ranked singles players: No. 42 Anna Shkudun, No. 115 Gabriela Knutson and No. 124 Valeria Salazar Garza. Shkudun is 6-2 at the top spot in the lineup, while Knutson is undefeated at 7-0 (6-0 at No. 3) and Salazar is 5-2 at No. 2. Knutson and Salazar have combined to go 3-0 in doubles, as well. Notre Dame has won all seven meetings with Syracuse.
The Irish moved up two spots to No. 30 in this week’s Oracle/ITA Women’s Team Rankings, while a pair of singles players rose in that poll, as well. Senior Quinn Gleason improved to No. 41 in the singles rankings after improving to 7-1 on the season with wins against Purdue, Indiana and Louisville last week. Additionally, junior Monica Robinson entered the rankings this week at No. 56 after improving to 7-3, including a win over then-No. 14 Brienne Minor of Michigan on February 14. Gleason and Robinson dropped six spots in the doubles rankings, from No. 15 to No. 21, though the pair boast a 6-2 record atop the Irish lineup.
Last Time Out
The Irish enjoyed a string of dominant 6-1 wins last week, traveling to then-No. 47 Purdue last Wednesday before returning home to defeat then-No. 59 Indiana on Saturday and conference foe Louisville on Sunday. The three straight wins helped the Irish improve to 7-3 (2-0 ACC) and gave them six wins in their last seven matches.
ITA Rules Changes
This season, the NCAA with the support of the ITA, will utilize a no-ad scoring format for the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis championships. If a game reaches deuce, the next point will win the game. Additionally, eight-game pro-sets will no longer be utilized in doubles matches, with teams playing one set to six, with a tiebreak at six-all. At the individual doubles championships, matches will consist of the best-of-three sets, with a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. The rules changes are designed to improve the pace of play in championship matches.
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.