March 8, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Around 5 p.m. yesterday, once the doubles matches were over and the singles had already begun, Notre Dame women’s tennis player Monica Robinson looked up from her match to see her mother walk into the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
“I saw my mom walk in and I did get a little nervous,” Robinson said. “I had the match in control, but I saw her and heard her voice and I got a little emotional, and in tennis, you have to leave the emotions aside.”
Robinson was playing Clemson’s Tristen Dewar, who is currently ranked 100th in the country. Her parents, Daisy and Roy Robinson, woke up at 4 a.m. PST and traveled eight straight hours from San Diego, Calif. to come see their daughter play on the college stage for the first time.
The freshman struggled in her first set to Dewar, ultimately losing it 6-3. Amidst the cheers of her parents, she fought back in her second set, winning it in a 7-5 tiebreaker.
Despite the fact that she was down early, Robinson’s parents said they knew their daughter well enough to know she wasn’t out of the match.
“We have a lot of confidence in her because she’s a fighter,” Daisy Robinson said. “She’s not a girl who is going to give up. Even if she’s behind in a set, I know that she can come back.”
After that close second set, Robinson came back to defeat Dewar definitively in the third. She won the match, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Head coach Jay Louderback singled Robinson out as a highlight of yesterday’s play, despite the fact that the Irish fell to No. 15 Clemson, 5-2.
“The kids fought hard, you could see,” Louderback said. “Monica Robinson was running up the wall to get a ball and fell three times. For us, you just have to play like that all the time.”
All smiles after her match, Robinson said once she overcame the surge of emotion that came from seeing her parents cheering her on, their presence helped her fight through to win her match.
“I wanted to play with so much heart because they enjoyed watching me so much in the juniors,” Robinson explained. “Just seeing them back out there and hearing their voices, it was kind of strange, it was like a little dream. Like, `Are they really there or am I just imagining that?’ So I just wanted to play my best for them and play a good match that they could enjoy.”
The Robinsons will get to see their daughter play another match this weekend, as Notre Dame will take on No. 25 Florida State in the Eck tomorrow at 1 p.m. Hopefully their cheering will inspire more victories for the Irish.
–Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant