Oct. 15, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It’s early, but the stakes are high and the opportunity for assertion on a regional scale has presented itself.
With just one team tournament under its belt, eight members of the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team are heading to Urbana, Illinois for the six-day United State Tennis Association (USTA) / Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Championships (Oct. 16-21) at the Atkins Tennis Center.
The singles tournament consists of a qualifying round of 48 players that begins at 9 a.m. (CT) Thursday. The final eight players left standing after two days of matches will qualify for the main draw, which begins Saturday.
The doubles tournament begins at 2 p.m. (CT) Friday, and will continue through Tuesday’s championship matches.
Singles scoring will be two out of three sets, no add scoring for all rounds. Scoring for doubles through the quarterfinal will consist of an eight game pro set with no add and a tiebreaker at 7-7. For the semifinals and finals a 10-point tiebreaker will be played in lieu of a third set.
Winners of the singles and doubles bracket will have secured a spot at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championships that begin November 6 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.
Irish players competing in qualifying singles are freshman Allison Miller and senior Molly O’Koniewski, while sophomore Jane Fennelly has been listed as an alternate. Main draw participants include junior Quinn Gleason, sophomore Monica Robinson, sophomore Mary Closs and junior Julie Vrabel, with Miller being listed as an alternate.
Notre Dame’s doubles pairs feature Gleason and Robinson, Miller and Vrabel and Closs and O’Koniewski, with Fennelly and Katherine White being listed as an alternate team.
Head coach Jay Louderback highlighted the significance of the tournament, stating that it’s an opportunity for his players to gauge themselves against the best competition in the Midwest.
“They have a chance to play and get better,” Louderback says. “We’ll get to see how we’re stacking up against two top-20 teams, and there are some other good ones that will be there, too.”
It’s also an opportunity for Louderback’s players to exit the practice realm and shake off any rust from the summer break.
“Since they hadn’t played many matches since the NCAA Tournament last year, getting that first tournament in really is going to help out because it’s so different playing matches than practice.”
Louderback has an optimistic view of the chances for his players, especially for the doubles pair of Gleason and Robinson.
“They’ll have a chance to win it,” Louderback says. “It’ll be good to see them play. They’ll probably get a chance to play a couple other schools’ No. 1 teams.”
Follow UND.com, @NDWomensTennis on Twitter or the Tournament Central page for updates throughout the tournament. A live video stream will be provided for six courts and the link can be found using the tournament central page at the top of the article. Updates can also be found through @IlliniWTennis on Twitter.
Singles Main Draw
Allison Miller vs. Sophora Boulbaheim (EIU) or Oana Manole (UIC) – 2:45 p.m. CT
Molly O’Koniewski vs. Valeriya Kulikovskaya (Detroit) or Ariel Dechter (Bradley) – 3 p.m. CT
–Connor Killoren, Media Relations Student Assistant