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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish split pair of matches

Vicky Jacobsen | Monday, March 4, 2013

After a 5-2 win over DePaul at home on Saturday, a tired Irish squad was overpowered by Duke at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, losing 5-2 on Sunday afternoon.

The No. 18 Irish (9-4) clinched victory before No. 66 DePaul (9-5) could win a match on Saturday. They didn’t have too much trouble with the doubles point – the No. 38 duo of juniors Julie Sabacinski and Britney Sanders beat junior Kelsey Lawson and freshman Ana Vladutu, 8-2. Junior Jennifer Kellner and senior Chrissie McGaffigan secured the first point of the day, defeating freshman Matea Cutura and sophomore Patricia Fargas, 8-5. Freshman Quinn Gleason and sophomore Katherine White were leading freshmen Zaina Sufi and Jarret Fisher, 7-6, but the contest was stopped when McGaffigan and Kellner won, making the outcome of No. 3 doubles irrelevant.

But White made sure her singles match counted: she made quick work of Sufi, winning 6-1, 6-2.  Gleason and McGaffigan were the next to finish, beating Vladutu, 6-2, 6-3, and Lawson 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), respectively, and guaranteeing the Irish win.

Sophomore Molly O’Koniewski went on to beat Fisher, but No. 85 Cutura beat No. 42 Sanders, 7-5, 3-6, 11-9, while Fargas took down Kellner.

While all went well against the Blue Demons, the situation was practically reversed against the No. 2 Blue Devils (9-2) on Sunday.

“They’re a very deep team, so the sixth player is really, really top notch, just like the No. 1 player,” McGaffigan said. “And I think that they play a really hard schedule, too, so they have a lot of experience, and they’ve been in tough matches and persevered through those.”

That tough match experience was on display at the Eck Tennis Center.

Junior Marianne Jodoin and sophomore Monica Turewicz struck first in the doubles, beating Gleason and White, 8-4. Sabacinski and Sanders evened up the doubles score by beating senior Mary Clayton and sophomore Annie Mulholland, but the Blue Devils claimed the first point of the day when No. 27 sophomore Ester Goldfeld and junior Hanna Mar beat Kellner and McGaffigan, 8-5.

Duke won the first three singles matches to guarantee victory. No. 13 Mar defeated Kellner, 6-4, 6-0, and No. 38 Goldfeld needed three sets to dispatch Sanders, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. No. 100 Jodoin earned the winning, beating White 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Mulholland continued Duke’s dominance, beating O’Koniewski, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 10-3.

But the Irish weren’t done,

Although No. 66 Turewicz forced a third set, an injury forced her to retire with McGaffigan leading 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (1-7), 8-6.

“She was a really good player, so I had to be patient and wait for the ball that I wanted to go for it,” McGaffigan said. “My teammates had really good energy, so that helped me to persevere through that match, because it was tough.”

Gleason also showed grit on the No. 3 court, beating No. 62 Mary Clayton 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6).

“She’s just been doing a really great job, especially for a freshman,” McGaffigan said. “She came in here and has been working really hard, a I think it’s shown out on the court.”

The Irish now have a long, nine-day break ahead of them. The will pick up competition again against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Play begins at 1 p.m. on March 12.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu