May 12, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the 21st consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will make an NCAA Championship appearance. The No. 43 Fighting Irish will travel to Ohio State University for a first-round match-up with No. 27 UCLA on Friday, looking to win their 22nd first-round match in 23 tries.
WHAT: NCAA Championship First Round
WHO: Notre Dame (14-13) vs. UCLA (14-6)
WHEN: 10 a.m. ET, May 13, 2016
WHERE: Varsity Tennis Center | Columbus, Ohio
FOLLOW: Tournament Central
BRACKET: 2016 NCAA DI Women’s Championship Interactive Bracket
Irish NCAA Championship Overview
Since their first appearance in a Division I NCAA Championship in 1993, the Irish have made 23 postseason appearances in 24 seasons (including 2016). Their 21-appearance streak dates back to the 1995-96 season, when the Irish reached the NCAA quarterfinals and finished the season with a No. 6 ranking. Just once have the Irish failed to win a first-round match when making the tournament (2015).
Friday’s match will feature the Irish against UCLA, which the Irish have meet four times since 1989. The Bruins have won all four of those matches, with the most recent meeting occurring in 1999. The 2016 Bruins are led by No. 17 Catherine Harrison, who is 16-2 in dual matches this season playing atop the UCLA singles lineup. Kyle McPhillips is 15-3 at No. 2 singles for UCLA, while Alaina miller boasts a 13-5 record playing at the Nos. 3 and 4 spots. In doubles, Harrison and McPhillips have combined for a 13-3 dual record and a No. 7 national ranking.
The winner of Friday’s match will face the winner of the other first-round match in the pod between No. 4 Ohio State (28-2) and Youngstown State (12-12).
Tournament matches will be regulation dual matches with three (3) six-game doubles sets played for one team point, followed by six (6) singles matches, each valued at one team point, played in best-of-three sets. No-ad scoring will be used and a seven-point tiebreaker will be played at six-games-all.
The Irish stayed put in the latest Oracle/ITA team poll (May 5) at No. 43. The Irish rose four spots in the previous poll after a 2-1 showing at last month’s ACC Championship, picking up wins over Pittsburgh and then-No. 29 Clemson before falling to No. 15 Georgia Tech in the quarterfinal. In the latest singles poll, senior Quinn Gleason dropped one spot to No. 49, while, junior Monica Robinson held steady at No. 84. Sophomore Allison Miller comes in at No. 108, rising seven spots from the previous week. Gleason and Robinson come in at No. 39 in the latest national doubles poll.
Sophomore Brooke Broda is turning in a fantastic season thus far, posting an 21-1 record this season in dual matches. Indeed, Broda – who missed last season with a shoulder injury – has lost just two matches all season dating to fall tournament play, boasting a 27-2 record overall. Broda is in the midst of an 10-match winning streak, with her only loss of the spring season coming on March 24 at NC State. For her efforts, Broda was named the the All-ACC Third Team on April 21.
The Irish boasted two All-Atlantic Coast Conference team members for the second straight year, as senior Quinn Gleason and sophomore Brooke Broda earned the all-conference scrolls. Gleason was named to the All-ACC Second Team for the second year in a row, while Broda earned third team honors following her fantastic debut season.
Last Time Out
The Irish made an impressive run during the ACC Championship April 20-22, winning matches against Pittsburgh and No. 29 Clemson to reach the championship quarterfinal against No. 15 Georgia Tech. Notre Dame was dominant in its two opening matches, blanking Pitt 4-0 before trouncing Clemson 4-1. The Irish fell to Georgia Tech 4-0 in the quarterfinal.
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 director 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, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.