March 13, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Little ambiguity exists around the North Carolina women’s tennis program’s status as the top-ranked team in the country.
The undefeated Tar Heels have not just navigated their first 16 dual matches of the season without a loss. Indeed, they have been dominant in each of those victories, winning by three points or more in all but one.
The trend held true on Friday as the No. 28 University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team welcomed UNC to the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Atlantic Coast Conference action, as the Irish fell to the Tar Heels 5-2. But while the final margin was substantial, the Irish took away a sense of confidence in having competed well throughout the match.
“The good thing is, the kids feel good to know that we’re right there with them,” head coach Jay Louderback said. “We competed really well, and we’ve been competing well, but against a team like this, that’s you’re only chance because they’re very good and we went toe-to-toe with them.”
The No. 21 duo of Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson secured an impressive win at No. 1 doubles, an 8-5 victory over 12th-ranked Caroline Price and Jamie Loeb. The Irish (8-5, 3-2 ACC) held serve through the first nine games before taking a break to go up 7-4. The Tar Heels (16-0, 4-0 ACC) took the next point on the serve, but with Robinson serving, the sophomorenotched the decisive point when she snuck a forehand past Loeb on the sideline.
Still, the Tar Heels went into the singles portion of the afternoon up 1-0, thanks to doubles wins on Courts 2 and 3. No. 55 Julie Vrabel and Allison Miller fell to No. 36 Ashley Dai and Kate Vialle 8-5 at the second spot, while Mary Closs and Jane Fennelly dropped an 8-4 decision to No. 18 Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay on Court 3.
The Tar Heels kept rolling, snatching the next three points in straight sets on Courts 2, 3 and 4 to wrap up the win. Closs competed well on Court 4, forcing a tiebreaker in the first set before ultimately falling to No. 61 Kay 7-6(2), 6-2.
Fennelly gave the Irish a point back with a decisive 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 125 Vialle at No. 6. That left third-set matches left on Courts 1 and 5, which the Irish split. Gleason dominated the first set over the 8th-ranked Loeb and the pair tussled back and forth before Loeb finally closed the door for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Miller dug out of a one-set hole on Court 5, defeating No. 66 Dai 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
“Quinn lost at No. 1, but played an unbelievable match. (Loeb) has been No. 1 in the country a lot the past two years.,” Louderback said. “The thing that Quinn’s showing is that she can play anyone at No. 1, which is something we really need.”
The Irish will return to the Eck Tennis Pavilion at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday for a match with Boston College (7-6, 1-2 ACC). The Irish are undefeated in the all-time series with the Eagles (11-0), including a 4-0 victory last season in the second round of the ACC Championships.
“B.C.’s going to be a tough match,” Louderback said. “They want us badly. We’ve got a day and we’ve got come back ready to play.”
The match will be streamed live on WatchND, and will also be available. For the latest on all Irish women’s tennis action, follow@NDWomensTennis on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Tennis on Facebook.
No. 1 North Carolina 5, No. 28 Notre Dame 2
1. No. 8 Jamie Loeb (UNC) def. Quinn Gleason (ND), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. No. 14 Hayley Carter (UNC) def. Monica Robinson (ND), 6-0, 6-1
3. No. 16 Caroline Price (UNC) def. Julie Vrabel (ND), 6-2, 6-1
4. No. 61 Whitney Kay (UNC) def. Mary Closs (ND), 7-6(2), 6-2
5. Allison Miller (ND) def. No. 66 Ashley Dai (UNC), 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Jane Fennelly (ND) def. No. 125 Katie Vialle (UNC), 6-1, 6-3
1. No. 21 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson (ND) def. Caroline Price / Jamie Loeb (UNC), 8-5
2. Ashley Dai / Kate Vialle (UNC) def. Julie Vrabel / Allison Miller (ND), 8-5
3. Hayley Carter / Whitney Kay (ND) def. Jane Fennelly / Mary Closs (ND), 8-4
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant