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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish host Memphis

Vicky Jacobsen | Friday, April 5, 2013

Memphis compiled a perfect record at home in 2013, but the Irish will try and trip up the Tigers when they travel to South Bend for a Sunday matinee.

The No. 36 Tigers (15-4) have won eight matches in a row and haven’t dropped a point since their 6-1 victory over UCF on March 8. They won all 14 matches at home this spring, including a 5-2 victory over No. 16 Virginia, Irish sophomore Molly O’Koniewski’s former program. All four of their losses have come to teams ranked in the top-25.

“Memphis is a very talented team, and they have a lot of top players on their team, so it’s definitely going to be a tough match that we have to be ready for,” senior Chrissie McGaffigan said. “These past two matches [against Tulsa and Marquette] have been pretty good in preparing us for it, and I think we want to really go out with a bang in our last match at home this year.”

While the Tigers haven’t lost much this season, this level of success is still new to the program. Their win over Virginia in February was the first over a top-20 opponent in school history. The team’s ranking peaked at No. 22 – another Memphis record – earlier this season.

The No. 21 Irish (12-7) are coming off a 6-1 win over Marquette on Tuesday.

Sunday’s tilt will be McGaffigan’s final regular season home match.

“Chrissie has been my teammate all three of the years I’ve been here and it is sad to think she won’t be here next year,” junior Britney Sanders said. “I don’t know college without [her]. I’m going to miss her so much.”

McGaffigan said the ceremony before the match will be bittersweet for her.

“I’m really, really excited. It’s going to be a time for me to look back and really be able to enjoy all the experiences I’ve had,” McGaffigan said. “I’ve just had a wonderful four years here and I’ve met so many wonderful people. My teammates and my coaches and even the people who work the front desk have really made this time absolutely amazing for me.

“It’s kind of sad for me, but at the same time I have no reason to be sad, because I just had the best four years of my life here.”

So far this season, chilly weather has forced the Irish to play all of their home matches indoors in Eck Tennis Pavilion, but the team might get the chance to play in the sun this weekend.

“We’re planning on playing outside, but it’s weather permitting,” Sanders said. “Temperature wise it should be good, but I think it’s looking like it’s going to rain, so it may be inside.”

After the contest against the Tigers, the Irish have only two more matches before the Big East tournament, which will be held in Tampa, Fla., beginning April 18.

The Irish will celebrate Senior Day by hosting Memphis at the Courtney Tennis Center at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu