Irish, Hurricanes meet to decide top seed in Big East
It's like the old saying goes; if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The Notre Dame women's team has been firing on all cylinders of late, so head coach Jay Louderback doesn't want to tweak anything for this weekend's important home match against the Miami Hurricanes.
"We've been really playing well lately," Louderback said. "We'll be going with the same lineup against Miami this weekend."
The Hurricanes blow into South Bend this weekend for a match with very high stakes. The winner will likely be the top seed for next week's Big East Championships, while the loser will be relegated to the second spot.
For Notre Dame, currently ranked 14th — higher than the Hurricanes who come into this weekend's match ranked 45th — the match takes on a greater importance due to Notre Dame's lack of scheduled Big East opponents.
Since the Irish have yet to play a Big East team this year, this match will be crucial when it comes to seeding for next week's tourney. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have played several Big East matches, winning them all.
Miami's season has been marked by inconsistency. They have played well at times, poorly at others, and their 9-9 season record reflects that.
"They've really had an up and down kind of year," Louderback said. "They lost a real close one to Duke, but they've lost some matches I'd would have thought they'd win."
The Hurricanes will be hoping to storm in and catch the Irish looking ahead to postseason play, with that charge being led by junior Alanna Broderick, who is 20-12 in dual singles matches on the year. If the Hurricanes are to test the luck of the Irish, they will need strong singles play right on through.
"I'd say their strength is in singles," Louderback said. "They're solid in doubles though too."
Junior Michelle Dasso has catalyzed recent wins with her strong play. Not only has she played brilliantly in singles, she is also undefeated in doubles since renewing her partnership with sophomore Becky Varnum just over a month ago.
"They've played exceptionally well together," Louderback noted. "Our doubles as a whole are playing really well."
The tandem of Dasso and Varnum will be tested by the Hurricanes' solid coupling of Katie Bogomolova and Marcy Horam, who have won seven of their last nine matches.
In other tennis news, senior captain Kelly Zalinski will look for one win to surpass Jennifer Hall as the school's all time singles wins leader this weekend.
All Sports Stories for Friday, April 14, 2000