March 1, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 26 University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team got off on the right foot against 5th-ranked Virginia on Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, but the Irish could not hold off the Cavaliers singles attack, falling 6-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Despite the lopsided score, head coach Jay Louderback was not unhappy with the chances the Irish had to win matches.
“We’re there; we’re doing a great job of just fighting,” Louderback said. “We’re not giving up, we’re getting back in matches and that’s what we have to do. … Virginia’s (No. 5) and we definitely had chances of beating them. Our biggest thing is we can’t let up and we’ve got to play hard and we’re doing a good job of it.”
The Irish (7-4, 3-1 ACC) won the doubles point in style. Julie Vrabel and Allison Miller turned in an impressive victory over No. 23 Skylar Morton and Cassie Mercer 8-3 on Court 2, to start the day, while Virginia even things with an 8-3 win on Court 3.
On Court 1, No. 21 Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson raced to a 6-1 lead over Danielle Collins and Stephanie Nauta, but the Cavaliers won four of the next five games to pull within 7-5. With Robinson on serve, however, the duo didn’t allow a Virginia point in the final game to secure the 8-5 victory and the doubles point.
“Our one and two (doubles teams), that’s as good as I’ve seen them play,” Louderback said. “They were unbelievable. At No. 1 doubles, we could have won the match 8-2. Our No. 2 doubles has been playing really well, but we’ve had three or four matches in a row where our opponents’ strength was their No. 2 doubles, but we just played really well today (in that spot).”
Notre Dame could not corral the momentum, however, against the Cavaliers’ stacked singles lineup. The Irish lost the first five matches, with the first four losses in straight sets to give Virginia (9-2, 3-0 ACC) the victory. On Court 2, top-ranked Julia Elbaba defeated Robinson, 6-2, 6-2, while Vrabel fell to No. 27 Nauta, 6-3, 6-4 on Court 3. Jane Fennelly lost to Marie Faure, 6-1, 7-6(0) on Court 6, and Mary Closs dropped to Morton on Court 4, 7-6(1), 6-4, despite rallying from a 2-5 first-set deficit.
With the match in hand for Virginia, Gleason remained locked with No. 32 Collins on Court 1. The junior rallied from a first-set loss to force a tiebreaker, but ultimately fell 5-7, 6-4, 0-1(4-10). Milleralso had chances to win on Court 5, but fell to No. 109 Maci Epstein in a third-set tiebreaker as well, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7).
The Irish return to action in 10 days when they face East Carolina and Florida Gulf Coast on March 10 in Florida. For the latest on all Irish women’s tennis action, follow @NDWomensTennis on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Tennis on Facebook.
No. 5 Virginia 6, No. 26 Notre Dame 1
1. No. 32 Danielle Collins (UVA) def. Quinn Gleason (ND), 7-6, 4-6, 10-4
2. No. 1 Julia Elbaba (UVA) def. Monica Robinson (ND), 6-2, 6-2
3. No. 27 Stephanie Nauta (UVA) def. Julie Vrabel (ND), 6-3, 6-4
4. Skylar Morton (UVA) def. Mary Closs (ND), 7-6(1), 6-4
5. No. 109 Maci Epstein (UVA) def. Allison Miller, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7)
6. Marie Faure (UVA) def. Jane Fennelly (ND), 6-1, 7-6(0)
1. No. 21 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson (ND) def. Danielle Collins / Stephanie Nauta (UVA), 8-5
2. Allison Miller / Julie Vrabel (ND) def. No. 23 Skylar Morton / Cassie Mercer (UVA). 8-3
3. Julie Elbaba / Maci Epstein (UVA) def. Mary Closs / Jane Fennelly (ND), 8-3
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant