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ND Women’s Tennis: ND rights ship against Eagles

By Katie Heit | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

After big losses to No. 8 Michigan on March 27 and No. 25 Tulsa on Saturday, the No. 21 Irish got back in the win column with a 6-1 victory at Marquette on Tuesday.

Notre Dame (12-7) fell behind early at home against the rival Wolverines (13-4), dropping the doubles point with losses in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Junior Jennifer Kellner and senior Chrissie McGaffigan fell 8-4 to the nationally-ranked No. 2 team of sophomore Emina Bektas and junior Brooke Bolender.

Only the freshmen pair of Quinn Gleason and Julie Vrabel claimed a doubles victory, winning 8-6 at third doubles.

In singles, junior Britney Sanders fell 6-1, 6-1 to Betkas, bringing the Michigan lead to 2-0. Shortly after, Kellner fell at No. 2 singles, further extending the Wolverines lead.

Gleason snatched the first point for the Irish with a 6-3, 7-6, 9-7 victory at No. 3 singles and sophomore Molly O’Koniewski won at No. 5 singles in three sets, managing a 3-6, 6-4, 4-2 victory. Losses by sophomore Katherine White and McGaffigan sealed the Michigan victory.

Against Tulsa (13-5), the Irish were able to claim the doubles point with 8-6 victories from Sanders and junior Julie Sabacinski at No. 2 doubles and Vrabel and Gleason at No. 3 doubles.

Notre Dame extended its lead with a victory at No. 3 singles by Gleason, who sealed her match in three sets, winning 6-2, 7-6, 8-6. Despite a victory by McGaffigan, losses by Sanders, Kellner and O’Koniewski sealed the victory for the Golden Hurricane.

McGaffigan said she chalked the loss up to inexperience in outdoors competition.

“It was difficult to play Tulsa outside with the amount of wind,” McGaffigan said. “We haven’t had the chance to practice as much as we would like outside.”

Shortly after their loss, the Irish hit the road for Marquette (10-10), defeating the Golden Eagles at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium in Milwaukee.

“We were happy to pull out the match against Marquette,” McGaffigan said. “We were able to win multiple close matches. They have a scrappy team, which is hard to play.”

The Irish got their doubles game working early against Marquette, claiming victories in all three doubles matches to take the doubles point.

In singles, the Irish continued their dominating streak, as Sanders, Gleason, Kellner and McGaffigan all earned victories in only two sets. O’Koniewski sweated out a 6-3, 6-7, 10-6 win at No. 5 singles. Only Sabacinski struggled, falling in three sets in the No. 6 spot.

The Irish will play their final home match of the regular season Saturday when they take on Memphis at 1 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu