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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish set to compete in season-ending invite

Katie Heit | Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coming off a strong showing at home, the Irish will attempt to end their fall season on a high note today as Notre Dame’s underclassmen compete in the Lakewood Ranch Invitational in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Sophomore Britney Sanders said she hopes her team will use this experience to work on its concentration heading into the off-season.

“I think our team as a whole is doing really well but we still need to work on our concentration,” Sanders said. “Some of us tend to lose our focus when we’re winning and end up making the match closer than it needs to be.”

Sophomore Julie Sabacinski said she is looking forward to using this tournament to play as many different opponents as possible to help her improve. As a whole, the Irish have improved steadily this off-season and have examined the aspects of their game that need improvement leading into the spring tournaments.

“I would like to improve my overall game,” Sabacinski said. “I want to use this opportunity to get as many matches as I can.”

This tournament will mark the third time in the fall season when the underclassmen attend a tournament without their senior captains Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews. Both Sanders and Sabacinski said that in the absence of official leadership, everyone needs to step up and become a leader.

“We all play the captain role,” Sanders said. “Since we don’t have a captain or upperclassmen here, we make our decisions together.”

Sanders said she and her teammates rely on one another for encouragement to play to the best of their abilities.

“We all expect each other to play every match like it was our last,” Sanders said. “We’re a team. It’s not just about one person performing well, it’ s about all of us putting everything on the line.”

Notre Dame will hit the courts at the Lakewood Ranch Invitational today in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu