Jan. 22, 2017
By Luke Chval ’20
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team kicked off the 2017 season Sunday with a pair of sweeps over Western Michigan and Wright State at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
How It Happened
The Irish’ doubles pairs cruised past the Broncos in all three matches, racing to the finish almost simultaneously. Junior Allison Miller and senior Mary Closs won first at No. 2 doubles over Olivia Myers and Denise Azcui, 6-0. Just a handful of minutes later, junior Brooke Broda and senior Monica Robinson closed out their match at No. 1 doubles over Melina Lyubomirova and Tracy Kuhle, 6-1. Already having secured the doubles’ point, the Irish continued to dominate doubles play with a 6-2 win at No. 3 doubles by senior Jane Fennelly and freshman Bess Waldram over Barbare Eristavi and Katja Fevralev.
Continuing into singles play, Western Michigan proved to be more stubborn with a few competitive first sets. The Irish clinched the dual victory with Miller’s 6-1, 6-4 win over Myers at No. 3 singles. After losing the first set and trailing for most of the third set 10-point tiebreaker, sophomore Rachel Chong dug deep to pull out a 5-7, 6-3,10-8 thriller over Fevralev at No. 5 singles.
The Irish reconvened in the afternoon for another dual matchup against the Wright State Raiders. After Chong and Spence made quick work of their match at No. 3 doubles with a 6-0 win, Closs and Miller secured the doubles point for the Irish with a 6-3 victory at No. 2 doubles. Robinson and Broda lost in a tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles to Tori Turner and Taylor Culbertson 7-6(5).
The Irish skated through singles play against the Raiders to complete their second dual sweep of the day. Robinson shut out Karoline Haller 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles while Fennelly also shut out her opponent at No. 5 singles. Spence lost the first three games of her match, but battled back to win at the No. 4 singles spot 6-4, 6-0 in her debut day for the Irish.
Coach Louderback’s Thoughts
On his first impressions of the team after two matches…
“I especially liked the doubles. I feel like we worked on them, we’ve got pretty good pairings and Western Michigan has had really good doubles in the past. Their No. 1 pair knocked off Ohio State in the fall and their No. 2 team beat Indiana yesterday so their doubles are good. I feel like we did really well today. For us to be good this year we really need our doubles to be good.”
On the play of the underclassmen…
“Our two freshmen (Bess Waldram and Zoe Spence) were good, both played really well. We feel that both of them are going to contribute a lot, especially in the singles. And today their first one was a tough one because it was their first dual match and you can see a little bit of nerves. Zoe started off a little nervous and then settled down and rolled in both matches. For those guys it’s a big thing to get their first matches in, and they’ll be fine. That was a big thing for them this week. And these two teams are both good, Wright State lost in the Summit League finals last year, and Western lost in the finals of the (Mid-American Conference). Playing two in one day isn’t easy but they’re both good teams. I felt like that was good because I thought we were going to get pushed and we did.”
The Irish open Atlantic Coast Conference play at 10 a.m. ET next Sunday at Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame 7, Western Michigan 0
January 22, 2017
Eck Tennis Pavilion
#1 Monica Robinson (ND) def. Melina Lubromirova (WMU) 6-1, 6-1
#2 Brooke Broda (ND) def. Tracy Kuhle (WMU) 6-3, 6-1
#3 Allison Miller (ND) def. Olivia Myers (WMU) 6-1, 6-4
#4 Bess Waldram (ND) def. Denise Azcui (WMU) 6-3, 6-1
#5 Rachel Chong (ND) def. Katja Fevralev (WMU) 5-7, 6-3, 10-8
#6 Zoe Spence (ND) def. Barbare Eristavi (WMU) 6-3, 6-2
#1 Brooke Broda / Monica Robinson (ND) def. Melina Lyubomirova / Tracy Kuhle (WMU) 6-1.
#2 Allison Miller / Mary Closs (ND) def. Olivia Meyers / Denise Azcui (WMU) 6-0.
#3 Jane Fennelly / Bess Waldram (ND) def. Barbare Eristavi / Katja Fevralev (WMU) 6-2.
Notre Dame 7, Wright State 0
January 22, 2017
Eck Tennis Pavilion
#1 Monica Robinson (ND) def. Karoline Haller (WSU) 6-0, 6-0
#2 Allison Miller (ND) def. Linsey Verstrepen (WSU) 6-2, 6-0
#3 Bess Waldram (ND) def. Taylor Culbertson (WSU) 6-2, 6-3
#4 Zoe Spence (ND) def. Haily Morgan (WSU) 6-4, 6-0
#5 Jane Fennelly (ND) def. Elaine Cloern (WSU) 6-0, 6-0
#6 Mary Closs (ND) def. Tori Turner (WSU) 6-4, 6-1
#1 Tori Turner / Taylor Culbertson (WSU) def. Brooke Broda / Monica Robinson (ND) 7-6(5)
#2 Mary Closs / Allison Miller (ND) def. Karoline Haller / Linsey Verstrepen (WSU) 6-3.
#3 Rachel Chong / Zoe Spence (ND) def. Elaine Cloern / Haily Morgan (WSU) 6-0.