Jan. 22, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. T-32 University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team heads west this weekend to join a quartet of highly ranked foes at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, hosted by Oklahoma State.
WHAT: ITA Kick-Off Weekend
WHO: No. T-32 Notre Dame (1-0), No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0), No. 26 Northwestern (0-0), No. 27 Arizona State (0-0)
WHEN: January 23-24, 2016
WHERE: Greenwood Tennis Center | Stillwater, Okla.
ITA Kick-Off Weekend
The ITA Kick-Off Weekend serves as the qualifying tournament for February’s ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships, which will be held February 5-8 at the Neilson Tennis Center in Madison, Wisconsin. A total of 64 teams will compete at campus sites this week to determine the 16 qualifiers for the national event. The Irish will face other ranked foes, starting with 11th-ranked host Oklahoma State at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, while No. 26 Northwestern and No. 27 Arizona State face off in the weekend’s opening round. The winners from each match will meet on Sunday to determine the pod’s champion, while the losing teams will meet to determine third place.
Irish in the Field
Saturday’s match will give the Irish their first real challenge as they face the pod’s highest-ranked squad in Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls boast four ranked singles players, including two-time All-American No. 46 Viktoriya Lushkova, and three ranked doubles teams. Notre Dame is 3-0 all-time against Oklahoma State, including 1-0 in Stillwater.
The Irish have not fared as well against their other potential opponents, but will look to turn that around on Sunday. Notre Dame is 0-3 all-time against Arizona State, and 11-29 against Northwestern, though the then-No. 28 Irish upset the 16th-ranked Wildcats 4-3 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Championship in the teams’ last meeting.
Notre Dame moved up one spot in this week’s Oracle/ITA National Women’s Tennis Rankings to tie Dartmouth at No. 32. Senior Quinn Gleason and 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 kicked off the season Tuesday with a dominating 7-0 win over Western Michigan at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. They dropped just one set on the evening, but junior Monica Robinson fought back at No. 2 singles to secure a 6-2, 5-7, 10-4 victory. The Irish were otherwise dominant, including a 6-4, 6-4 win for sophomore Brooke Broda, who collected her first collegiate singles victory. Senior Quinn Gleason barely dropped a game all night between singles and doubles, starting the match with a 6-0 win with Robinson at No. 1 doubles, then going on to snag a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles.
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.