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Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Irish tennis teams go 1-3 during ITA Kickoff Weekend

The women's team pulled off a dramatic victory over Kansas, while the men faced stiff competition in Lexington

The Notre Dame tennis teams traveled southeast over the weekend, competing in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. In Columbus, Ohio, the women’s squad fell to Ohio State before skimming past Kansas. Meanwhile, the men’s crew dropped both of its tussles against Kentucky and Nebraska in Lexington, Kentucky.

Irish women rally against Kansas for 1-1 weekend

After a dominant, season-opening weekend at home, Alison Silverio’s group visited the loss column for the first time Friday. Host program Ohio State, ranked No. 13 in the nation, blanked the Irish with a 4-0 victory. Junior Carrie Beckman and graduate student Page Freeman hung tight in No. 1 doubles, but the Buckeyes pulled through to earn a 7-5 win. They would add a 6-2 victory in No. 3 doubles to earn the day’s first point.

In singles play, Freeman (No. 1) and senior Julia Andreach (No. 2) played close opening sets against ranked opponents. However, Freeman ran out of gas in a 6-0 second set, and Andreach’s match went unfinished as Ohio State captured closing points in No. 3 and 5 singles.

But the Irish refused to leave Columbus with an empty weekend. On Saturday, Notre Dame overcame a lost doubles point to down Kansas, 4-3. That first point certainly hung in the balance for a while, though. The Jayhawks claimed No. 1 doubles (6-4) before the No. 2 match required a 12-point tiebreaker. With the third match deadlocked at 5-5, Kansas succeeded in the tiebreaker to escape doubles.

In singles play, Notre Dame fell behind at an overall score of 3-2. The difference between an 0-2 and 1-1 weekend came down to the final results of the No. 2 and No. 3 matches. The latter went final first, with Irish senior Yashna Yellayi prevailing in comeback fashion (5-7, 7-5, 6-3). 

With the tie-breaking point on the line, Andreach played to a 6-6 score in set three against 110th-ranked Gracie Mulville. Andreach had dropped the first set, 6-3, before capturing set two by the same score. Set three’s 12-point tiebreaker also came down to the wire, but Andreach pulled it out, 7-5. All in all, the Notre Dame-Kansas battle finished in just under three and a half hours.

Now at 3-1, the Irish will head home to face Ball State and Chicago State on Sunday. 

Irish men drop big tests against Big Blue and Big Red

Coming off a road win at Wisconsin and a 3-0 start, Ryan Sachire and company went 0-2 in the Bluegrass State. The weekend opened with promise, as the Irish won the No. 1 doubles match. But Kentucky pushed back with 6-4 and 6-2 wins to earn the doubles point. Singles play then all went the Wildcats' way, with a tiebreaker win from Jaden Weekes concluding Friday’s competition.

On Saturday, the top Irish doubles team of sophomore Sebastian Dominko and senior Jean-Marc Malkowski again opened with a 6-1 win. But Notre Dame let No. 3 doubles get away (7-5), allowing Nebraska to take the point.

During singles play, Dominko briefly pulled the Irish within a 2-1 count. He topped Calvin Mueller in a tight, two-set match, winning 7-6 (7-4) and 6-4. However, the Cornhuskers took care of the rest, ending the weekend on Anton Shepp’s three-set triumph in No. 2 singles.

The Notre Dame men will now recuperate during their only idle weekend of the regular season. On the women's side, the Irish will head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Feb. 9.

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