Joanne Norell | February 13, 2017
On a day on which no wins came easy — on which no wins even came in straight sets — the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team showed resilience on the road in a 4-3 victory over Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center.
How It Happened
The Irish (4-1) and Illini (2-5) played a trio of close matches to start in doubles, with the initial point taking nearly an hour to decide. On Court 1, 32nd-ranked junior Brooke Broda and senior Monica Robinson defeated Louise Kwong and Ines Vias 6-4, but the remaining matches would take extra games to decide. Illinois pulled even with Madie Baillon and Jaclyn Switkes defeating Irish senior Mary Closs and junior Allison Miller 7-5 at No. 2, while UI’s Alexis Casati and Daniela Pedraza Novak upended senior Jane Fennelly and freshman Bess Waldram in a tiebreaker, 7-6(2), as the Illini took a 1-0 lead.
The margin was even closer in singles as all six matches went to three sets. Illinois picked up the first decision at No. 4 as Switkes defeated Waldram 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to make it 2-0, but the Irish got on the board next as Broda bounced back to upend Casati 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 at the No. 2 position.
The Irish tied the score when Robinson ousted Kwong with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory on Court 1, then went ahead on freshman Zoe Spence’s 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Novak at the No. 5 spot. It was the fifth dual singles win of the season for Spence, who remains undefeated this spring.
Notre Dame closed the door on the team win as Miller downed Baillon 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 for the clincher.
Illinois picked up the last decision on Court 6 as Grace Tapak defeated Fennelly 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.