The Notre Dame women’s tennis program has high aspirations for the 2023 season with head coach Alison Silverio in her fifth year as head coach.
The Irish have lots of upperclassmen experience in senior Page Freeman, junior Julia Andreach, junior Yashna Yellayi, junior Meghan Coleman, junior Sydney Sforzo and graduate student Alex Kuo. They bring some vital experience to the team as a whole, which Silverio certainly appreciates.
“Experience is key because you have been in situations before and you understand the emotions. You have been through the ups and downs,” Silverio said.
Silverio also applauded her upperclassmen for being leaders and role models for their freshmen teammates.
“Our upperclassmen and veterans have been great leaders and great examples for our freshmen who are working through things here. It’s a great team effort, and the experience is certainly a benefit as we head into the rest of our season,” Silverio said. She especially applauded Freeman’s leadership, who is the only senior on the team.
“Page has had every single experience a student athlete can. She went through a bunch of different challenges throughout her time here and a lot of successes,” Silverio said. “She is someone that doesn’t only lead by her actions but also by her voice. She is someone that empowers others around her, and she is a positive influence all around.”
Silverio is grateful that Freeman has continued to serve as a leader for the team throughout her four years here.
“We are very grateful that she is a part of the program and continues to set the example, but also set the tone for the team and push them in the right direction,” Silverio said.
Of course, this Irish team is not entirely defined by its upperclassmen. There are three freshmen on this year’s team. Silverio feels that all of them have brought a spark and fresh blood to the team.
“I think the freshmen have brought in a great energy and fire and spark. Any time there’s fresh blood that helps refresh everyone. And again I think our upperclassmen and those that have been here for a few years, they have been able to all pool together as a group,” Silverio said.
Silverio has paired up some of her freshmen with upperclassmen in doubles to help them gain more experience. These pairings include freshman Rylie Hanford playing alongside Yellayi and freshman Bojana Pozder partnered with Freeman.
Silverio believes that these pairings have been great leadership opportunities for her upperclassmen athletes.
“This is a leadership opportunity for our upperclassmen to really help guide the freshmen with their energy and enthusiasm. That peer energy and learning is important. It has been great to see them work together so well,” Silverio said.
The Irish have plenty of matches before the ACC Championships at the end of April, and Silverio is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for her team. Off to a 4-0 start, the team will be back in action this weekend at the ITA Kickoff where they will play USC in the first round.
Silverio is excited to face a difficult opponent in USC and gain more experience at the ITA Kickoff.
“We are super excited for the ITA Kickoff. We play Southern Cal in the first round, so that will be a great experience and an opportunity for us to play a top-12 team,” Silverio said. “The ITA indoor is the first national team event of the season, so we are not looking any further ahead than the next match. We are definitely very excited for the kickoff.”