Feb. 28, 2016
By Joanne Norell
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Another tight Atlantic Coast Conference match marked the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team’s weekend trip east Sunday, but this time the No. 30 Irish found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-3 decision against No. 33 Syracuse at Drumlins Country Club.
Notre Dame’s four-match winning streak was snapped as the Irish lost their first ACC match of the season.
The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker on Court 3 as the Irish (8-4, 3-1 ACC) and Orange (8-1, 2-1 ACC) split the first two decisions on Courts 1 and 2. At the No. 2 slot, the Irish gained the edge as junior Mary Closs and senior Julie Vrabel upended Anna Shkuden and Dian Hegab, but Syracuse evened the odds as Valeria Salazar Garza and Gabriela Knutson defeated No. 21 senior Quinn Gleason and junior Monica Robinson 6-4 at No. 1. From the No. 3 slot, junior Jane Fennelly and sophomore Allison Miller led Maria Tritou and Nicole Mitch 6-5, but the Orange duo forced a tiebreaker and clinched the point with a 7-6(4) win.
Syracuse took a 2-0 lead as Tritou defeated Closs 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 4 slot, but the Irish got even as No. 59 Robinson defeated No. 124 Salazar 6-1, 6-4 on Court 2 and sophomore Brooke Broda upended Libi Mesh 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5.
The teams traded the next two points, as Miller forced an extra set and went on to defeat No. 115 Knutson 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4), but Syracuse’s Dina Hegab defeated Fennelly 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to make it 3-all.
The match came down to the decision between No. 41 Gleason and No. 42 Shkudun at the No. 1 slot. Gleason led 5-3 in the second set and looked to be on the brink of a win, but Shkudun battled to take the next four games to force the final set before settling in for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory to clinch for the Orange.
The Irish will get a full week off before traveling to take on Miami next Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla. The Irish will then travel to Puerto Rico over Spring Break, where they will take on East Carolina and LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday, March 8.
No. 33 Syracuse 4, No. 30 Notre Dame 3
1. No. 42 Anna Shkudun (SU) def. No. 41 Quinn Gleason (ND) 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
2. No. 59 Monica Robinson (ND) def. No. 124 Valeria Salazar Garza (SU) 6-1, 6-4
3. Allison Miller (ND) def. No. 115 Gabriela Knutson (SU) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)
4. Maria Tritou (SU) def. Mary Closs (ND) 6-3, 6-2
5. Brooke Broda (ND) def. Libi Mesh (SU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Dina Hegab (SU) def. Jane Fennelly (ND) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
1. Valeria Salazar Garza / Gabriela Knutson (SU) def. No. 21 Quinn Gleason / Monica Robinson (ND) 6-4
2. Mary Closs / Julie Vrabel (ND) def. Anna Shkudun / Dina Hegab (SU) 6-1
3. Maria Tritou / Nicole Mitchell (SU) def. Jane Fennelly / Allison Miller 7-6(4)
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.