Feb. 11, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 33 University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team returns to the court this weekend after a week of rest, opening Atlantic Coast Conference play Friday against Pittsburgh before traveling across the state line to take on a talented Michigan team.
WHAT: Matches 6 & 7
WHO: No. 33 Notre Dame (3-2) vs. Pittsburgh (3-0) | No. 33 Notre Dame @ No. 8 Michigan (4-2)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET February 12, 2016 | 1 p.m. ET February 14, 2016
WHERE: Eck Tennis Center (Notre Dame, Ind.) | Varsity Tennis Center (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
FOLLOW: | Live Stream vs. Pittsburgh | Live Scoring/Video @ Michigan
Friday’s match will be the first ACC contest for both the Panthers and the Irish. Pittsburgh opened the season with a 3-0 record, including a 5-2 win over No. 67 Penn State on Saturday, its first win over a ranked opponent in program history. The Panthers are led by sophomore Callie Frey, who has won nine straight singles matches dating to fall tournament play. Frey is joined by freshman Carina Ma in doubles, where the pair own a 4-0 record. The Irish are 3-0 in the all-time series.
The eighth-ranked Wolverines are coming off a 2-1 showing at last weekend’s ITA National Team Indoor Championship, where they knocked off No. 11 Miami and No. 18 LSU, but fell to No. 2 Georgia. Michigan boasts three ranked singles players: No. 14 Brienne Minor (5-0), No. 17 Ronit Yurovsky (3-1) and No. 112 Kate Fahey (5-1). Two doubles squads also make the national top 60: No. 26 Minor and Mira Ruder-Hook (3-0), and No. 52 Fahey and Minor (no dual record). The Irish are 22-14 all-time against Michigan, including a 20-9 mark under head coach Jay Louderback.
This week’s Oracle/ITA National Women’s Tennis team rankings remained the same, with the Irish staying at No. 33 in the national landscape, but a pair of Irish players saw improvement to their individual standing. Senior Quinn Gleason and junior Monica Robinson jumped 17 spots in the second Oracle/ITA doubles poll of the year, coming in at No. 15 after spending the first three weeks of the season at No. 32. The duo are 4-0 in dual matches, and 5-1 overall this season. Gleason also climbed in the singles rankings, moving up to No. 44 after opening the year at No. 57. Gleason is 3-0 atop the Irish singles lineup and 9-2 including fall tournament play.
Last Time Out
The Irish broke out of a two-match skid last weekend to climb over .500 with a pair of convincing wins over No. 53 Illinois (5-2) and Bowling Green (7-0). Notre Dame dominated the Illini in singles, taking five of six matches after losing the doubles point. The Irish went on to sweep the Falcons in straight sets at every position, including a perfect match by sophomore Brooke Broda, who defeated Leeah Floyd 6-0, 6-0. Through five dual matches, the Irish are led by Quinn Gleason (3-0), sophomore Allison Miller (3-0) and Broda (3-1).
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.