Jan. 30, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 33 University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will look to rebound from a pair of losses as they host No. 53 Illinois and Bowling Green in a doubleheader Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
WHAT: Matches 4 & 5
WHO: No. 33 Notre Dame (1-2) vs. No. 53 Illinois (3-1) | No. 33 Notre Dame vs. Bowling Green (1-3)
WHEN: January 31, 2016 | 11 a.m. ET & 5 p.m. ET
WHERE: Eck Tennis Center | Notre Dame, Ind.
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The Fighting Illini opened the season with three straight wins, including a 4-3 decision over then-No. 30 Virginia Tech during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend last Saturday before falling to No. 17 Texas Tech 4-1 on Sunday. Still, the split weekend resulted in Illinois moving up five spots to No. 53 in the latest Oracle/ITA rankings. The Illini boast one ranked singles player, No. T-114 Jerricka Boone, who is 2-2 on the season. Louise Kwong and Daniela Pedraza-Novak are 3-0 in dual singles play so far this season, leading the Illini. Illinois is a combined 10-0 in doubles play this season.
Notre Dame is 26-8 all-time against Illinois, including 22-2 in the Jay Louderback era. The Irish defeated the Illini 5-2 last season in Urbana, Illinois.
Scouting Bowling Green
The Falcons lone win came against Detroit (5-2) on January 17, but Bowling Green has suffered losses to Ohio State, Northern Kentucky and Dayton. Notre Dame and Bowling Green have meet five times in the series, with the Irish winning each meeting, but have met just once since the Louderback took over the program in 1989 (a 7-0 win in 2013).
Notre Dame moved down one spot in this week’s Oracle/ITA National Women’s Tennis Rankings to No. 33. Senior Quinn Gleasonand junior Monica Robinson enter the season as the nation’s No. 32-ranked doubles squad. The pair combined for a 22-9 overall record in 2014-15 and look to once again earn a slot at the NCAA Doubles Championship this spring. Gleason also comes in ranked 57th in the Oracle/ITA National Singles Rankings and will again sit atop the Irish lineup.
Last Time Out
The Irish fell in two straight matches last weekend at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Notre Dame fell to host Oklahoma State 4-0 on Saturday, then dropped a 4-0 decision to Arizona State in Sunday’s consolation match.
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.