The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Women’s Tennis: Heralded McGaffigan debuts with two impressive victories

Molly Sammon | Thursday, January 28, 2010

In her Notre Dame debut, Chrissie McGaffigan topped two Big Ten opponents, verifying the promising ability Irish coach Jay Louderback saw in her when he recruited the Iowa native.

Tennis flows through McGaffigan’s DNA, as both her parents played at Catholic University and three sisters played at Big Ten schools. Unsurprisingly, Chrissie began playing at an early age.

“I enjoy tennis because it is a sport that challenges you both physically and mentally,” the freshman said. “While tennis is usually considered an individual sport, I especially love competing in college because it is a team sport.”

The importance that McGaffigan places on team bonding was one of the factors that led her to choose to play for Notre Dame, as opposed to the other upper-tier tennis schools who also sent her invitations to play on their teams.

“My teammates are not only talented tennis players, they are amazing girls and so fun to be around,” McGaffigan said. “I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to attend and compete for Notre Dame.”

Though the girls usually travel as a team in the fall part of the season, they did not this past fall because of a few injuries that compromised their ability to compete.

As one of the injured, McGaffigan was unable to start competing when then rest of the freshman tennis players around the country were able to.

“I injured my hip this fall, so I was super excited for our first match [this past weekend],” McGaffigan said.  “I was also a little nervous because it was not too far from my hometown and a bunch of my friends came to watch from Iowa.”

 In her first weekend competing, McGaffigan won both of her matches in the No. 3 singles position.

She defeated Zuzi Chmelarova of Iowa in two sets and then Aleksandra Markovic of Wisconsin in three sets.

McGaffigan’s game relies on all-around athleticism, which stems from her playing four sports in high school. After winning the Iowa State tennis tournaments as a freshman and again as a sophomore, she gave up high school tennis to play golf for her junior and senior years. However, as last weekend has shown, the two years off of high school tennis did not inhibit her ability to win games on the court.

“McGaffigan has great speed and can play an all-around game,” Louderback said. “She has good ground strokes and is working on her net game.”

McGaffigan and the rest of the team compete next against DePaul at Notre Dame’s Eck Tennis Pavillion on Saturday at 3 p.m.