April 14, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will close out the regular season this weekend, celebrating Senior Day on Friday against Virginia Tech before wrapping the slate on the road at Virginia on Sunday.
WHAT: Matches 22 & 23
WHO: No. 51 Notre Dame (10-11, 4-8 ACC) vs. No. 30 Virginia Tech (14-7, 7-5 ACC) | Notre Dame @ No. 13 Virginia (12-9, 7-5 ACC)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET, April 15 | 10 a.m. ET, April 17
WHERE: Courtney Tennis Center (Notre Dame, Ind.) | Snyder Tennis Complex (Charlottesville, Va.)
FOLLOW: | WatchND Live Stream | Live Stats @ Virginia
Scouting Virginia Tech
The Hokies enter Friday’s contest on a two-match losing streak, but those loss came against then-No. 2 North Carolina and then-No. 15 Virginia. In fact, the Hokies have notched wins over then-No. 6 Duke (March 6), No. 16 Georgia Tech (April 1) and No. 29 Rice (February 20) this season. Virginia Tech is led in the rankings by No. 45 Francesca Fusinato (11-8 dual record) and No. 95 Elena Cerezo-Codina (14-4), but six Hokies boast 10 or more wins this spring. In doubles, Fusinato and Kelley Williford have combined to go 9-6, while Cerezo-Cordina and Sansitha Nandakumar are 8-5.
The Cavaliers have lost four of their last six matches heading into the weekend, but against very stiff competition (Wake Forest, Miami, Duke and Georgia Tech, with wins against Florida State and Virginia Tech). Virginia will play Pittsburgh on Friday before the Irish head to town. The Cavaliers boast the nation’s No. 2 singles player in Danielle Collins (13-2 at No. 1) while No. 15 Julia Elbaba (13-4 at No. 2), No. 78 Stephanie Nauta (10-7) and No. 93 Skylar Morton (6-3 at No. 3) round out Virginia’s ranked contingent. Meghan Kelley is also 15-3 playing in Nos. 4, 5 and 6 slots. Collins and Kelley rank at No. 22 in the doubles poll, with an 11-6 record at No. 1.
The Irish will honor their four seniors – Quinn Gleason, Darby Mountford, Alaina Roberts and Julie Vrabel – prior to Friday’s match against Virginia Tech. Each senior will be presented in a ceremony before first serve.
The Irish fell six spots in the latest Oracle/ITA team poll to No. 51 last week after losses to Clemson and Georgia Tech last weekend In the latest singles poll (April 12), senior Quinn Gleason rose 14 spots to No. 50 after beating No. 32 Johnnise Renaud of Georgia Tech on Sunday, while, junior Monica Robinsonrose to No. 81. Enter the rankings this week is sophomore Allison Miller, who comes in at No. 108 after defeating Georgia Tech’s No. 37 Paige Hourigan last week. Gleason and Robinson come in at No. 32 in the latest national doubles poll.
Sophomore Brooke Broda is turning in a fantastic season thus far, posting an 16-1 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 22-2 record overall. On April 3, she defeated her first ranked opponent in No. 78 Ellyse Hamlin of Duke, and came back to beat Georgia Tech’s Kendal Woodard on Sunday to win her fifth match in a row. Against Woodard, Broda was down 5-2 in the second set and facing her second dual loss, but won five straight games to force a third set tiebreaker and snatched the win.
Last Time Out
The Irish fell in two close matches last weekend, both 4-3 decisions to No. 31 Clemson and No. 17 Georgia Tech at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish went up 3-0 against the Tigers on Friday, but Clemson won the last four singles matches for the victory. On Sunday, the Yellow Jackets clinched the match at 4-0, but the Irish won the last three matches to finish just a point back.
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.