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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Irish women’s tennis set to close out regular season against Syracuse, Boston College

The Notre Dame women’s tennis season has been full of ups and downs. After picking up two big home wins against Wake Forest and Louisville at the end of March, the Irish traveled to Florida last weekend and fell to Florida State and Miami. They’ll have the chance to get back on the upswing before postseason play begins as they return home to face Syracuse and Boston College in their final regular season matches this weekend.

The matches come in advance of next week’s ACC Championship, and Notre Dame’s performance this weekend could significantly impact their seeding at the tournament. The No. 27 Irish (13-9, 4-7 ACC) currently sit eighth in a tightly bunched ACC. No. 36 Syracuse (11-7, 4-7 ACC) is even with Notre Dame, while No. 41 Boston College (10-9, 3-8 ACC) is just a single game back. Losing both matches could drop the Irish as low as 12th, while a pair of wins could vault them into the top half of the standings. Notre Dame hopes that a strong conference tournament showing will earn them their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2017.

Similar to the Irish, Syracuse enters the weekend looking to get back into the winning column. After an 11-1 start to the year, the Orange have slumped in recent weeks. Road defeats at the hands of NC State and Wake Forest last week extended their losing streak to six, five of which were decided by a 6-1 score. Syracuse’s schedule has done them no favors, as they have faced three top-10 opponents during that stretch, and five teams in the top 30. As they look to break through with a long-awaited win against the Irish, they will be led by senior Zeynep Erman, ranked No. 102 nationally in singles. Boston College arrives refreshed after a bye week preceded by a similar gauntlet to that faced by Syracuse. Playing all four ACC schools from the state of North Carolina in a two-week span, they managed just one point combined in three lopsided losses against North Carolina, Duke and NC State. They also earned an impressive 5-2 road win against Wake Forest just days after the Irish shut the Deacons out by a 7-0 margin. The Eagles feature junior Marice Aguiar in the No. 1 singles spot. Aguiar, ranked No. 65, is coming off of a strong weekend of play and will provide a tough test for Notre Dame senior Page Freeman, who slotted in at No. 61 this week. Not much went to plan for Notre Dame in Florida, but their masterful doubles performance was a silver lining. The Irish claimed the doubles point in both of their matches. Against Florida State, sophomore Carrie Beckman and junior Julia Andreach began doubles play with a 6-1 victory on court No. 2. Freeman and sophomore Maria Olivia Castedo followed with a 6-3 win on court No. 1 to seal the point. Against the Hurricanes, it was a similar story. Beckman and freshman Bojana Pozder were victorious on court No. 3. Junior Yashna Yellayi and freshman Rylie Hanford doubled down with a win of their own on court No. 2 to extend Notre Dame’s doubles winning streak to four matches. As the Irish prepare to match up with some of the nation’s most talented and deepest teams at the ACC Tournament, being able to count on their doubles pairings rising to the occasion could provide a crucial boost. After their impressive performance in Florida, the pairing of Beckman and Andreach sits at No. 41 nationally. Meanwhile, the Yellayi-Hanford duo entered the rankings at No. 76. The Irish will look to continue building up confidence as well as their doubles winning streak. Notre Dame will conclude its regular season slate at home this weekend. The Irish host Syracuse at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Boston College at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Both matches are at the Eck Tennis Pavilion and will be live streamed on the Notre Dame Athletics website.