The Michigan women’s tennis team’s annual matchup
against longtime foe Notre Dame takes place early this year.

Julie Pannuto
Senior Kim Plaushines and her teammates look to knock off No. 21 Notre Dame. (FILE PHOTO)

Today, the 34th-ranked Wolverines (1-0) will welcome the
Fighting Irish into town. It will be the second of five straight
home matches for Michigan and the first match of the season for
Notre Dame.

“It’s definitely an advantage,” Michigan
assistant coach Katy Propstra said of the home stand. “Its
good for the freshmen and also the veterans on the team to play at
home. You always want to play at home, especially with the
competitiveness of Notre Dame.”

The Wolverines have dropped nine straight matches to the Irish
and hold a 7-14 all-time record against them. Michigan’s last
victory against the Notre Dame was a 5-4 ‘W’ in Ann
Arbor at the end of the 1993-94 regular season.

But this year, the Wolverines are optimistic.

“There is a lot of potential, but it is also a very
competitive schedule,” Propstra said. “We are looking
forward to getting the season underway, and we had a good win over
DePaul. Now we have Notre Dame, so we are getting some
action.”

Michigan’s recent success gives the Wolverines reason to
believe that this year will be different against No. 21 Notre
Dame.

In late December, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association named
freshman Elizabeth Exon and junior Michelle DaCosta as two of the
top collegiate tennis players in the Midwest Region. Exon holds the
No. 6 singles ranking, while DaCosta is No. 10.

Freshman Kara Delicata and senior Kavitha Tipirneni also look
strong, coming off an impressive doubles victory and singles wins
against DePaul in Michigan’s first dual match of the
season.

Senior Chrissie Nolan and junior Leanne Rutherford, who are also
coming off convincing singles wins, are both geared up for the
upcoming matchup against the Irish.

“We haven’t really faired well in the past, but I
think our singles and doubles lineup is much stronger than it was
in the last couple years,” Rutherford said.
“We’ve been psyched since our last match. We’re
ready to go.”

Michigan hopes to stop Notre Dame’s senior co-captain
Alicia Salas, who recently jumped 49 spots to the No. 14 national
singles ranking.

“She’s a very good player, but we have nine very
good players too,” Propstra said. “We’re not
scared of her and the Irish.”

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