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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Split squad finds success in Arizona, Michigan

The Irish closed their fall tournament season Sunday at Western Michigan’s Bronco Super Challenge and Arizona State’s Thunderbird Invitational.

At the Bronco Super Challenge, Notre Dame went 2-2 on the final day of the event to finish 7-5 the weekend. Senior Brooke Broda had a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Indiana red-shirt sophomore Caitlin Bernard for an undefeated weekend, and freshman Ally Bojczuk beat Indiana junior Natalie Whalen 6-1, 6-4.

Observer File Photo
Irish senior Brooke Broda prepares to return the ball during Notre Dame's 5-2 win over Purdue on Feb. 22 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

“They both had great tournaments,” Irish head coach Jay Louderback said. “They both went 3-0 and it was really good for Brooke because she hadn’t played any singles matches since the NCAAs last year. She was coming off an injury and was able to finally start playing singles again. To go in there, not having played, and go 3-0 was very good. She had a couple of tight matches, and usually, when you haven’t been playing, you can struggle [in tight matches], but she didn’t. She played really well at the end of both matches.

“For Ally, it was good; she’s had quite a few things we’ve been working on with her and she really did a good job of doing everything she’s been working on. She played well. I felt good about our doubles too — we switched the doubles around. I just felt like all of our doubles teams played well.”

With the other half of the team at Arizona State, senior Allison Miller and junior Rachel Chong won their doubles matches over San Diego sophomores Kati Kukaras and Nicole Anderson to finish the weekend 2-1. Both Miller and Chong won in singles too, with Miller defeating ASU sophomore Savannah Slaysman 6-1, 6-3 in the Maroon Draw and Chong besting Oklahoma’s senior Malene Stripp 6-4, 6-2 in the consolation finals.

Reflecting on the fall tournament season, Louderback said the focus was playing time against top competition and surveying doubles.

In this last tournament — the one at Western Michigan — we had all of our top three, that were at that tournament, play the one, two and three players from the other schools,” Louderback said. “It’s what we really wanted to see — see how they did against the top players from DePaul, Indiana and Western Michigan. I felt like we had a great fall, we did what we wanted to in doubles, getting to see different combinations. And I felt like all our student athletes got a chance to play  a lot of singles matches, which is one of the big things we were hoping for.”

With the fall tournament season ending, the team will focus on conditioning while they have the time until the spring season starts up.

“We’ll keep working hard on our conditioning,” Louderback said. “The spring gets pretty long, we do a lot of traveling. Once we start our spring, we aren’t able to do as much conditioning then because we’re playing so much. Between now and the end of the fall, we’ll be working hard on conditioning and then working individually with each player. We won’t be having team practice as much, we’ll just do individuals. ... Each one individually will practice on what is needed — maybe they need to work more on forehands or serves. We’ll work on specifics with each one. Once we start our eight hours a week, six hours conditioning, we can only be on court with them two hours a week. We’ll spend those two hours with each one of them, one on one or two on one, where we’re able to work on specific things in their game.”