College MatchDay for the Ages
Notre Dame 4, USC 3
Brian Ormiston | February 15, 2020
One of the biggest rivalries in college football switched to the tennis courts on Feb. 15 when Notre Dame and No. 20 USC faced off for College MatchDay at the USTA National Campus. Just like the gridiron, the two storied programs turned in a match for the ages as the Fighting Irish toppled the Trojans, 4-3.
“It was unbelievable,” said Notre Dame head coach Alison Silverio. “We’ve been in 4-3 situations a few times already this season and were on the other side of the result. Credit to USC, they never went away. It was a battle, and a fight to the finish. We were fortunate to get the W. We just had a fighting spirit up and down the line. I’m very proud of them of how they represented each other, our program and Notre Dame.
“I think it was sure excitement to be out there. We were so grateful for this opportunity. We knew what it meant to play on such a big stage and have that exposure in a night match in front of an unbelievable crowd and in an historic rivalry. I believe that our girls stepped up when they needed to and handled the moment with class and character and I’m proud of that.”
Although the Trojans (4-2) secured the 1-0 lead after doubles play, each school stepped it up even more in singles play. After Notre Dame (7-3) won the first two singles points, USC responded with two of its own to take a 3-2 lead and was up a set on the remaining courts. However the Irish fought back yet again and pushed the matches at No. 4 and No. 5 to third sets.
Both Ally Bojczuk at No. 4 and Julia Lilien at No. 5 provided UND with momentum in those third sets as they each jumped out to 3-0 leads. Bojczuk then cruised the rest of the way for her victory. At No. 5 though, USC’s Estella Jaeger fought off four match points and came back from a 5-2 deficit to send it to a tiebreak. Finally on the fifth match point for Lilien, she converted to nab the 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) triumph, sending her teammates into a frenzy with the 4-3 overall win.
College MatchDay concludes for 2020 with a huge top-15 women’s showdown. Florida State sits at No. 7 in the Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25 and it will clash with No. 11 Ohio State on Sunday, March 1, at 4 p.m. The match will air live on Tennis Channel.
For College MatchDay ticket information, click on Ticketmaster.com.
Notre Dame 4, No. 20 USC 3
No. 1 Angela Kulikov / Eryn Cayetano (USC) def. Cameron Corse / Zoe Spence (ND) 6-2
No. 2 Danielle Willson / Estella Jaeger (USC) def. Page Freeman / Zoe Taylor (ND) 6-2
No. 3 Bess Waldram / Julia Lilien (ND) def. Sydney Van Alphen / Payton Saca (USC) 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
No. 1 Angela Kulikov (USC) def. Zoe Spence (ND) 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 Eryn Cayetano (USC) def. Cameron Corse (ND) 6-4, 6-3
No. 3 Page Freeman (ND) def. Danielle Willson (USC) 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 Ally Bojczuk (ND) def. Sydney Van Alphen (USC) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 Julia Lilien (ND) def. Estella Jaeger (USC) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3)
No. 6 Maeve Koscielski (ND) def. Payton Saca (USC) 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 2, 1, 4, 5
2020 College MatchDay
Feb. 1 – Florida def. Florida State, 4-1 – Men
Feb. 15 – Notre Dame def. USC, 4-3 – Women
March 1 – Florida State vs. Ohio State – Women – 4 p.m.
*All Times Eastern and Subject to Change