Nov. 13, 2015
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will add a pair of five-star prospects next season, as Zoe Spence and Bess Waldram signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Irish beginning in 2016, head coach Jay Louderback announced Friday.
Spence, a Chicago product who is the daughter of former Notre Dame cornerback Marvin (1984-87) and field hockey captain BenÃƒÆ’Â©t, has been ranked as high as No. 18 in her class, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network. In International Tennis Federation events, she won 21 of her first 29 singles matches – including titles in Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago – and 11 of her first 19 doubles matches. In USTA play, she has earned two gold balls, one silver and one bronze. When she enrolls, Spence will become the first African American women’s tennis student-athlete on scholarship.
Waldram hails from Portland, Oregon, and has been ranked as high as No. 35 in her class. She has posted a 24-14 record on the juniors circuit, including her most recent title at the Pacific Northwest Junior Sectionals in August. She has won one USTA singles event in the past year and placed second in two more, while she has also captured a pair of doubles titles. She won the 2015 Oregon State 6A High School Singles Championship and was named the Female Tennis Athlete of the Year by the Oregon Sports Award and The Oregonian.
“We are very excited to have Zoe and Bess join the Notre Dame family,” Louderback said. “This is a very athletic class that brings a wealth of national experience to Notre Dame. Zoe plays an all-around game with developing power, while Bess is a big hitter with a very powerful serve. Both Zoe and Bess will have the opportunity to contribute as freshmen.”
The Irish have concluded their fall season and will return to the court in January when they kick off the dual season against Western Michigan at 6 p.m. ET on January 19, 2016.
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.