Feb. 8, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Coming off a pair of tough losses to ranked opponents, the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team could have been forgiven for the sluggish start to the singles slate on Sunday against visiting Ohio State.
It didn’t stay that way for long, though, as the 19th-ranked Irish picked up the pace and secured a trio of hard-fought wins to notch a 4-3 win over the visiting No. 31 Buckeyes.
“They’re good; they’re a top 25 team (in caliber),” head coach Jay Louderback said. “It’s going to be a big one for us down the road.”
The Irish picked up a pair of doubles wins to seize the match’s first point, as 16th-ranked pair Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson defeated No. 26 Gabriella De Santis and Sandy Niehaus 7-5, then watched as Julie Vrabel and Allison Miler won 8-6 in the tiebreaker on Court 2, dropping Anna Sanford and Olivia Sneed.
“Getting the doubles point was so important, and you saw it today,” Louderback said. “Quinn and Monica had an unbelievable last point to win the doubles. Monica had three balls down at their feet and they finally missed the third one.”
But momentum appeared short-lived as the Irish fell behind on four courts early in the singles portion of the match. Indeed, the Buckeyes secured a brief lead as Niehaus defeated Mary Closs at No. 4, 6-1, 7-5, and Jane Fennelly fell to No. 71 Sneed, 6-1, 6-4, at the No. 6 slot.
Vrabel clawed back from an early deficit at No. 3 singles to win 6-4, then withstood an out call that went against her in the second to pull away from Ferny Angelez Paz, 6-4, 6-3. Soon after, Gleason secured a 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 86 Sanford to give the junior her first win over a ranked opponent this season.
“I knew she was ranked going into it so I knew it was a great opportunity for me,” Gleason said. “I just wanted to try to capitalize on that and I’m just really happy with my first ranked win of the spring season.”
The most dramatic win of the day came on Court 2, as Robinson put together an impressive comeback in the first set and rode the momentum through the second to clinch the win for the Irish. Down 1-4 in the first to De Santis, Robinson rallied to force a tiebreaker. Then down 1-5 in the tiebreaker, the sophomore rattled off five straight points and eventually won, 8-6.
“I felt really good winning at No. 1, 2 and 3,” Louderback said. “We’ve struggled a bit at the top of the lineup and for those three to come through is such a big thing for us.”
“It’s definitely a big win,” Gleason added. “(Ohio State) may not be ranked in the top 20 yet, but this is a really great team. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ They’re a really deep team and we’re all really excited about it.”
At No. 5, Miller fell to Miho Kawase after forcing a tie-breaking third set, 3-6, 6-3, 0-1(8-10).
The Irish hit the road next weekend when they head to Champaign, Illinois, on Saturday to face the Illini, then swing through Bloomington, Indiana, to face the Hoosiers on Sunday. For the latest news and updates, be sure to follow @NDWomensTennis on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Tennis on Facebook.
No. 19 Notre Dame 4, No. 31 Ohio State 3
1. Quinn Gleason (ND) def. No. 86 Anna Sanford (OSU), 6-3, 7-5
2. Monica Robinson (ND) def. Gabriella De Santis (OSU), 7-6(6), 6-1
3. Julie Vrabel (ND) def. Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU), 6-4, 6-3
4. Sandy Niehaus (OSU) def. Mary Closs (ND), 6-1, 7-5
5. Miho Kawase (OSU) def. Allison Miller (ND), 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8)
6. No. 71 Olivia Sneed (OSU) def. Jane Fennelly (ND), 6-1, 6-4
By Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant