Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

Irish split weekend matches with win against Purdue, loss to Northwestern

Notre Dame women’s tennis split a pair of matches over the weekend to move to 6-3 on the season. The Irish defeated Purdue 6-1 at home on Friday before falling at Northwestern on Sunday by the same margin.

The Irish entered the weekend with momentum on their side, coming off a doubleheader sweep at home against Yale and Northern Illinois the previous Sunday.

“Anytime we go 2-0, that’s certainly a successful weekend, not just from the winning perspective, but [also] in the way we played and competed,” Irish head coach Alison Silverio said. “We carried that into Friday’s match against Purdue and kept our focus.”

The Irish got off to a strong start against Purdue (5-2) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion by sweeping the doubles point. The veteran duo of junior Page Freeman and sophomore Julia Andreach earned the first win of the day on court No. 1, defeating Purdue’s Csilla Fodor and Tara Kataina Milic 6-2 in a strong performance. Minutes later, freshmen Maria Olivia Castedo and Nibedita Ghosh won 6-3 on court No. 3 to seal the doubles result and give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the match. Meghan Coleman and Carrie Beckman led 5-4 on court No. 2 before being cut short when the doubles point was clinched.

“We definitely believe in our doubles and know that it is a strength for our program,” Silverio said. “We found a great rhythm against Purdue and that always sets a great tone for the match.”

Notre Dame followed up the win in doubles with a dominant showing in the singles matches, as three Irish players won in straight sets. Castedo started things off with a quick 6-1, 6-3 win on court No. 6, and Andreach defeated Fodor 6-3, 6-4 on court No. 1. The Irish claimed victory with Freeman’s 7-6, 6-4 win on court No. 2. Even after sealing the match, Notre Dame continued to battle, as Irish freshman Ghosh (4-6, 6-2, 6-1) and Beckman (7-6, 7-5) earned hard-fought wins on courts No. 3 and 4, while Coleman fell to the Boilermakers’ Carmen Gallardo Guev in a close defeat on court No. 5.

Coach Silverio spoke about how impressed she has been with the success and the development of the Irish’s young roster, which includes three freshmen who played this weekend.

“We do have a younger squad this year and they’ve been stepping up in the lineup,” Silverio said. “They’ve been competing and representing our program in the right way.”

Notre Dame had little time to celebrate Friday’s win, though, as they quickly turned their attention to Sunday afternoon’s match against Northwestern on the road at Evanston’s Combe Tennis Center.

The Irish went with the same doubles lineup that they used against Purdue, but were unable to replicate the result, as Northwestern (2-3) took the doubles point. Freeman and Andreach were defeated 6-3 by Clarissa Hand and Maria Shusharina on court No. 1, while Coleman and Beckman fell 6-2 on court No. 2. Castedo and Ghosh were trailing 5-3 when the point was decided.

In singles, Notre Dame hoped to erase the deficit. However, Northwestern continued their strong play on the day, as Beckman fell 6-0, 6-0 on court No. 5 and Andreach was defeated 6-3, 6-4 by the Wildcats’ Hand, the 85th ranked singles player in the nation. Irish sophomore Yashna Yellayi played a tight match on court No. 4 in her first appearance of the weekend. After falling 6-0 in the first set, Yellayi recovered with a 6-0 win in the second set before ultimately succumbing 6-3 in a close final set as Northwestern picked up their fourth point, clinching the match.

On court No. 2, Freeman earned the Irish’s lone win of the day, dropping the first set before earning an impressive comeback win, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4. This finished a strong weekend for Freeman, as she won both of her singles matches along with her doubles match against Purdue. Northwestern closed things out by picking up two more narrow wins, as Castedo (1-6, 6-2, 6-3) was defeated on court No. 6 and Ghosh (7-6, 7-6) fell on court No. 3.

“The main focus for us going into Purdue and Northwestern was our presence out on the courts, specifically our body language and how we were handling different situations,” Silverio said. “We had opportunities [against Northwestern] and just couldn’t quite convert consistently.”

Looking ahead, the Irish will try to build upon their strong start to the season and put Sunday’s loss behind them as they return home to face Washington (6-3) next Sunday.

“The experience that we’re getting through our wins and through our losses have all been great lessons and we’re looking forward to continuing that into next weekend,” Silverio said. “The determined mindset in our preparation this week will be vital as we go into our last non-conference match.”