Apr 17, 2013, 4:47 PM EDT
1-The seed Notre Dame received for the BIG EAST Tournament
3- The number of days the team spent back in South Bend after returning from Florida before turning around to go back again
4-The number of days the team will spend at the Tournament
5- The number of pairs of back-to-back days the team had matches on. They had to travel overnight for 3 of the 5 matches.
6 – The number of Top-20 ranked opponents Notre Dame played this season.
7 (x2) – The number of matches the team has won this season. Their regular-season record was 14-8.
8 – The number of states the team traveled to for away matches during the spring season (Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Florida)
9- The number of matches played at home (either the Eck Tennis Pavilion or Courtney Tennis Center)
10- The number of girls on the team
While the men of the BIG EAST invade Notre Dame, the women head South to the University of South Florida for the BIG EAST Championship Tournament.
Even though they just returned from Florida, Notre Dame women’s tennis is turning around and going right back to defend their BIG EAST title as the #1 seed in the tournament.
The Irish’s spot on the bracket gives the girls an extra day to get used to the hot, humid weather down south. “With the hot weather we will be playing in, the first-round bye is a big benefit. Playing last weekend at USF is also a big plus in our preparation for the Championships,” remarked Head Coach Jay Louderback.
Freshman Quinn Gleason also said that she’s glad to have that first-round bye to “[have] an extra day to prepare for the tournament and get used to the Florida heat.” After surviving a Northern Indiana winter, that extra day is well-earned.
Senior Chrissie McGaffigan said that, aside from giving them a day off, earning the #1 seed “shows that we are capable and expected of winning the BIG EAST Tournament. Winning it was one of our goals going into the season. The top 4 seeds [#2 USF, #3 Louisville, and #4 Syracuse] will all be very talented and tough matches. We are going into every match with the same mindset regardless of who we play.”
McGaffigan and Gleason both said they believe the team’s biggest strength has to do with team energy. McGaffigan noted the team chemistry, while Gleason noted the team’s determination. “We play so well together and exude a positive energy on the court. We are a very close team and it helps us pull through tight matches,” said McGaffigan. In a related fashion, Gleason said, “I think one of our team’s biggest strengths is our will to win. We’ve had several close matches this season that we couldn’t have won without the complete determination and fight of the whole team.”
Coach Louderback believes the close matches that McGaffigan and Gleason talked about will be beneficial to the team: “I think the experience we have in playing close matches will help us in the Big East Championships.”
Both McGaffigan and Gleason also said that no matter how the BIG EAST Tournament goes, they know it will be good preparation for the NCAA Tournament.
By Sunday, the team will have spent more time over the last week in Florida than Indiana, they’ll all likely be much tanner, and hopefully, they’ll return with a second consecutive BIG EAST title.
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