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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish open spring season at home

Katie Heit | Friday, January 18, 2013

After a stellar fall, the Irish will kick off the spring season when they host Bowling Green today at 4 p.m.

Notre Dame, which is ranked 19th in ITA preseason rankings, is looking for its sixth straight Big East championship this season. The Irish have defeated Bowling Green all four times the teams have met, but they have not competed against the Falcons in team play since the 1988 season.

The Irish have not lost an opening-season match since 2004 and plan on extending that record. Junior Jennifer Kellner said the team has been working their minds as well as their bodies in preparation.

“We’ve been playing a lot [and] doing condition as well as mental training with the sports psychologist here,” Kellner said.
Kellner said the Irish plan on being one of the top teams in the country this season, with a berth in the NCAA tournament is always on the top of the list of team goals.

Entering the season, Notre Dame has players in the preseason rankings for singles and doubles. Junior Britney Sanders reached the highest ranking of her career, sitting at 58th in the ITA singles poll. The duo of Sanders and junior doubles partner Julie Sabacinski is ranked 20th in the preseason after completing their first fall season together.

Kellner and sophomore doubles partner Molly O’Koniewski will make their regular season debut as partners ranked 40th. Kellner said she looks forward to see what her team will bring to every competition this season.

“I think this team is really talented,” she said. “More than anything we are extremely driven. I’m excited for what everyone has to bring.”

While the start of a new season can be stressful, Kellner said the Irish are eager to hit the court and see what they can do.
“The start of a new season is really exciting,” she said. “But it can also be very nerve wracking. I think we’ve all put in the hard work and tough training, so I think everyone on the team deserves to be prepared for this conversation.”

The Irish will welcome Bowling Green to the Eck Tennis Pavillon on Friday at 4 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu