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ND Women’s Tennis: Freshman transitions to role

Katie Heit | Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Freshman Jennifer Kellner is no stranger to success. The New York native, who started playing tennis when she was six years old, was a 2010 All-American, a five-time member of the all-state team and a two-time state champion. Additionally, she was named MVP of her high school team four seasons in a row and was ranked nationally throughout high school.

At Notre Dame, she’s a part of the No. 2 doubles team with partner Chrissie McGaffigan, and the pair have been consistently dominant in their matches this season.

“I absolutely love playing with Chrissy and I think we play really well together,” Kellner said, “I always look forward to it.”

Most recently, the pair defeated Wake Forest doubles partners Ryann Cutillo and Emilee Malvehy in an 8-6 victory.

Kellner, a Pasquerilla East resident, had her choice of universities when came time to choose where she would continue her education and tennis career. The freshman explored her options at Boston College, North Carolina, Michigan and Illinois before settling at Notre Dame.

“I loved the campus, the team, the school … I could just see myself going here,” Kellner said.

So far, Kellner has been a good fit for the team, who lost two of their main competitors with the last graduating class. She’s been fairly consistent in her singles play at the No. 5 spot, where she is currently 3-2 and ranked 106th in the country, and has made the transition into college play with ease.

“The matches are way louder but it’s fun and motivating,” Kellner said. “Since I’ve been playing in college it feels really good to win my match because I feel like I’m doing it for the team,” Kellner said.

The veteran members of the team are excited for the dynamic of play that Kellner brings.

“Jenny is a freshman and played five matches (against Illinois) and really just dominated,” said junior Kristy Frilling “We’re really looking forward to the things she’s going to bring to the team this year.”

Kellner has truly enjoyed her time with the other girls on the

team, as well as the special dynamic the coaches add during road trips.

“On our trip to North Carolina our coach thought the lyrics to ‘Fly Like a G6′ was really ‘Fly Like a Cheese Steak’,” Kellner said. “We got a good laugh over that.”