Jan. 9, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team has been rated 14th in the preseason Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, which were released Monday. The preseason rank continues a recent trend of success for the Irish, who have appeared in the top 20 of the ITA poll continuously for more than five years (May 1996-present).
Notre Dame has six returning monogram winners and five starters back in the fold from last year’s team, which posted a 25-5 record, won its fourth BIG EAST Conference championship in six years and reached the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships for the second time in as many seasons. The Irish also were ranked as high as fifth in the ITA ratings during the 2001 season, the highest-ever ITA ranking in school history, before finishing the year at No. 10.
“Last year, we played well all year long, which is a very important thing,” said 13th-year Irish head coach Jay Louderback. “Our record was good and we had some big wins. I think the experience we have coming back this year – even though we are losing two of our top six players (Michelle Dasso and Kimberly Guy) – will make it so we can be just as good.”
The 2002 schedule will be a rugged one for Louderback’s crew, as Notre Dame faces 19 ranked opponents in 22 dual matches this year. The Irish will go up against four top-10 foes this season, visiting No. 3 Duke (April 1) and No. 10 Texas (April 15), while playing host to No. 6 Tennessee (Feb. 16) and No. 9 Northwestern (April 6).
Notre Dame opens its spring season Saturday, Jan. 26 with a doubleheader, taking on No. 59 Illinois State at 10 a.m. (EST) and Northern Iowa at 3 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.