Women’s tennis prepares to face NC State, Notre Dame

Virginia looks to bounce back after tough loss

sprosiejohansoncourtesyvirginiasports

Freshman Rosie Johanson has been a huge factor in Virginia's success so far this season.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia women’s tennis team is preparing for a set of ACC matches this weekend against NC State and Notre Dame after a tough loss to Michigan last week.

The Cavaliers (5-5, 3-0 ACC) built an early lead against No. 9 Michigan, but the Wolverines ultimately put together a comeback and won 4-3. That match marks the second of two-straight road matches against Big Ten opponents for the Cavaliers.

Despite the loss, freshman Rosie Johanson said she and her teammates took away several lessons that they hope to apply this weekend.

“That was a really good fight from everyone,” Johanson said. “It was a great match, and heading into the weekend, we’re just going to keep that mentality, keep up those positive thoughts.”

While only a freshman, Johanson has been a huge factor in the success the team has seen so far this season. She’s been hot lately, as her last singles loss came all the way back on Feb. 5 against South Carolina. Her most recent singles highlights include a win over No. 61 junior Anna Sanford from Ohio State — a national powerhouse — and No. 20 sophomore Kate Fahey from Michigan.

The team is returning to Charlottesville for a match Friday against N.C. State (10-6, 0-4 ACC) before it hits the road again to play Notre Dame (13-1, 4-0 Big Ten) Sunday.

NC State comes to Charlottesville as part of a two-match road stint — it earned its win No. 10 of the season earlier in the week when it traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah and defeated Utah. The week before, the Wolfpack snapped a four-game skid with a big win over the Michigan State Spartans. Although NC State will be taking that positive energy when it comes to Charlottesville, they remain winless in the ACC. The Cavaliers will have their hands full against a team that is eager to capitalize on that momentum and get its first conference victory.

The Wolfpack are led by senior Martina Frantova — a 2016 All-ACC Second Team selection — and sophomore Claudia Wiktorin. Both are coming off tough singles losses to Utah earlier this week. However, they will surely look to put an end to the Wolfpack’s recent drought against Virginia — the last time the Pack beat Virginia. in the regular season was April 1, 2006.

Virginia is also gearing up for what should be a packed weekend against two strong opponents.

Sunday’s match against Notre Dame will be a matchup of undefeated ACC teams — the Fighting Irish have won four conference games while the Cavaliers sit at three wins in the conference — having knocked off Boston College, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

However, Sunday marks the Cavaliers’ first-official ACC road test. They will have their hands full against a very strong Notre Dame team who has just one loss this year — Michigan — who the Cavaliers lost to as well. The Fighting Irish are coming home after capturing two compelling away victories — they dominated Richmond, 7-0, Monday and handily defeated William & Mary Wednesday, 5-2.

Senior Monica Robinson and junior Brooke Broda lead the Fighting Irish. Robinson was a 2015 NCAA Doubles Championship qualifier and a member of the 2015 All-ACC Third Team. Meanwhile, Broda was elected to the 2016 All-ACC Third Team. Their leadership has helped Notre Dame win its last 10 matchups, and they will look to pace the team when they play Sunday.

Sitting at 5-5 on the season, the Cavaliers will look to keep improving and capitalize on what they have learned so far in the season. They are approaching the heat of ACC play, as they still have 11 matches left against conference opponents. Every player and every point will be crucial in helping the team string together victories, given the competitive nature of the ACC year in and year out.

“As a team, we’re doing really well staying together and working as a team,” Johanson said. “So that’s a really good positive to take to this weekend.”

The match against NC State kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Snyder Tennis Center, and Sunday’s matchup against the Fighting Irish starts at 12 p.m. at the Courtney Tennis Center in South Bend, Ind. 

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