April 22, 2015
CARY, N.C. — The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team knew that either of its potential Atlantic Coast Conference Championships second-round opponents would present their own set of challenges.
Both 10th-seeded Florida State and 15th-seeded Pittsburgh gave the seventh-seeded Fighting Irish close matches during the regular season. The Irish escaped each — both road matches — with 4-3 victories.
But given the circumstances surrounding No. 36 Notre Dame’s first win over the 73rd-ranked Seminoles, the Irish believe they stand a good chance of repeating the feat at noon EDT Thursday at the Cary Tennis Center in Cary, North Carolina. And after Florida State blanked Pittsburgh 4-0 to open the first round of play on Wednesday, Notre Dame will once again find itself locked in battle with the Seminoles.
Irish head coach Jay Louderback said that winning the doubles point was key in propelling his team past FSU (14-10, 6-8 ACC) in the first meeting on March 20. No. 26 Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson delivered an 8-0 decision at No. 1 doubles for the Irish, while Mary Closs and Jane Fennelly also won on Court 3. Louderback believes doubles will once again be key, though the Irish will face different pairings this time around.
“I think it is a key, but I don’t think it’s a deciding factor at all,” Louderback said. “But here at this tournament, it’s good to go into every singles match (leading) 1-0.”
The Irish (14-9, 8-6 ACC) also believed they handled adverse weather — hot and sticky conditions in Tallahassee, Florida — well, and while the forecast calls for mild conditions in Cary on Thursday, the Irish know that they once picked up the victory in worse conditions in a hostile environment.
“We played well and it was a tough place to play because it was really hot,” Louderback said. “It was something we really haven’t been used to and we played well under those conditions. It was a close one and it’s something we’re preparing for again.
“It helps us (knowing we can win) on the road in conditions we aren’t really used to. Kids battled through it and we got a good win. But the postseason is so different. Sometimes it comes down to who plays the calmest and … I feel like we’ve had so many close matches this year and we’ve been right there in them and kids have played well in those conditions.”
RANKINGS UPDATE: In the latest ITA team poll (April 21), Notre Dame fell three spots to No. 36 after losses to No. 21 Clemson and No. 23 Duke. The Irish finished the regular season in seventh place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, mirroring their finish from a year ago. The 7th-seeded Irish will play either No. 10 Florida State or No. 15 Pittsburgh at noon EDT Thursday in the ACC Championships at Cary Tennis Center in Cary, North Carolina.
DOUBLE DUTY: Since starting the season 2-2, 26th-ranked doubles tandem Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson have been on a tear of late, winning 11 of their last 13 for an 13-5 dual match record at No. 1 doubles, including an 8-3 mark in ACC play. The pair also top the Irish singles lineup, with Gleason holding a 11-10 record at No. 1 and Robinson posting an 11-11 record between No. 1 and No. 2.
FROM THE BOTTOM UP: The Irish have excelled at the bottom half of their singles lineup this season, with contributions on Courts 4, 5 and 6 proving valuable. Notre Dame owns a .564 (36-28) winning percentage at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, while their winning percentage at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 falls behind at .492 (33-34). The Irish get their best winning percentage on Court 5 (.667, 14-7), which is most often occupied by Allison Miller. The freshman owns an 12-6 record at No. 5, and is 15-6 in dual play this season (3-0 at No. 4).
ACC DOUBLES STAND OUT: The Atlantic Coast Conference owns six of the top 30 spots in the ITA Doubles rankings, including Robinson and Gleason.
RETURN TO REGULAR SCORING: The Atlantic Coast Conference has moved to re-implement the regular scoring format utilized in 2014. To begin the season, matches have been played with no-ad scoring, based on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s recommendations for increasing pace of play. Going forward, all conference matches will once again include an eight-game pro-set for the doubles point with a tiebreak at 7-7, and advantage scoring will be used. For women’s play, doubles play will be stopped once the doubles point is clinched, and singles will utilize a match tiebreak (first to 10 by two) in lieu of a third set once the match is clinched.
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant