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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

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Irish men's tennis continues up-and-down start, women swept on road

Both Notre Dame men's and women's tennis were in action this weekend. The No. 28 women's team made its way to North Carolina to take on No. 10 NC State and Wake Forest. The No. 63 men's team was a little bit busier, but also got to enjoy the comforts of playing on their home court, hosting No. 61 Miami on Friday before a Sunday double-header against No. 17 Florida State and Cleveland State.

Women's team drops road contests

Notre Dame women's tennis has been a tale of two teams this year. At Eck Tennis Pavilion, they have been close to unstoppable. Only one team — No. 6 Virginia — out of the nine that have challenged the Irish on their home court has emerged victorious.

But just as home court advantage giveth, it also taketh away. The Irish are still in search of their first road victory of the season, falling to 0-4 away from Notre Dame with two defeats in the Tar Heel State.

The weekend didn't start strong for the Irish, who were swept in doubles play to NC State. Amelia Rajecki, the No. 3 singles player in the country, quickly got another point for the Wolfpack. Senior Julia Andreach and sophomore Bojana Pozder both took down top-40 opponents to get the Irish back in the match. But no one else for Notre Dame was able to win in singles play, as NC State kept its perfect home record intact with a 5-2 win.

Doubles play treated the Irish more kindly in Winston-Salem. The combinations of senior Yashna Yellayi with junior Nibi Ghosh and sophomore Akari Matsuno and junior Carrie Beckman emerged to secure the doubles point for Notre Dame. Andreach and Pozder both took victories in singles play, but the Irish couldn't secure the extra point necessary for victory.

After starting 8-2, the Irish find themselves in a bit of a rut, having lost three of their last four. The Irish head back south for their next match, a meeting with Louisville at noon on March 10.

Men go 2-1, splitting ACC matchups

The first two games of the weekend were the biggest ones for the men, pitting them against prominent ACC foes Miami and Florida State. The Irish took care of business against the Hurricanes, starting with a doubles sweep secured by the duos of sophomore Sebastian Dominko and senior Jean-Marc Malkowski and graduate student Nil Giraldez and freshman Chase Thompson. Dominko, the No. 28 singles player, Malkowski and junior Jameson Corsillo all secured two-set victories in singles play to clinch the victory. Only Martin Katz in the No. 2 slot saved Miami from being shut out.

Once again, Notre Dame ruled doubles action against the top-20 Seminoles, with the same Dominko-Malkowski pairing getting the Irish the match's first point. Malkowski even made it 2-0 Notre Dame by winning the first singles match. But Florida State rattled off four straight victories, including the nation's No. 13 competitor in Antoine Cornut-Chauv out-dueling Dominko in the top singles match.

But the Irish didn't let that defeat get them down. Notre Dame closed out the weekend with a clean sweep of non-conference Cleveland State. Junior Yu Zhang replaced Malkowski alongside Dominko in the top doubles tandem, which clinched yet another doubles win for the Irish. Each of Notre Dame's top three singles players — Thompson (No. 2), Malkowski (No. 3) and Dominko (No. 1) —  bested their opponents to clinch the team's fourth 4-0 win of the season, and eighth overall in 14 tries.

Another non-conference test awaits the Irish next as they welcome in Northwestern on Friday at 5 p.m.

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