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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish compete in regional singles championships

Katie Heit | Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In their second contest of the fall season, the Irish head to the Midwest Regional Championships today through Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. to test their individual strength.

Junior Molly O’Koniewski, freshman Jane Fennelly and sophomore Julie Vrabel will compete in qualifiers this afternoon for the championships, battling for two spots in the main draw on Friday. Seniors Britney Sanders and Jennifer Kellner and freshmen Monica Robinson and Mary Closs will begin play in the main draw Friday.

Though the draws don’t come out until this afternoon, Sanders said she knows she’ll face some tough opponents during the tournament.

“There are a lot of good teams that are playing,” Sanders said. “Michigan and Northwesters are two top teams with great players and both will be there.”

Sanders is a veteran in this tournament, reaching the finals in both singles and doubles play during the 2012 season.

“It was frustrating getting that far in the tournament and losing,” Sanders said. “I always want to do better than the year before, so this year I want to win the tournament.”

Sophomore Quinn Gleason, though unable to play in the tournament due to an injury, said the competition will be tough for her teammates this weekend, but they’ve put in the work to handle the additional pressure.

“Everyone has been working especially hard since regionals is our biggest tournament of the fall season,” Gleason said. “There will be some really great players from 23 different schools, so it’s an opportunity for everyone to get some matches in and see how they stack up against the competition.”

Sanders said the competition in Ann Arbor is primarily an individual event, but the Irish are entering with a few team goals in mind.

“Our goals as a team are to become better tennis players during and after every match,” Sanders said. “We all want to win the tournament, but becoming better competitors is the most important thing.”

To prepare, the Irish have been doing most of their training indoors and have their sights set on sending as many players as possible to the finals in New York on Nov. 17. The winners of the regional tournament this weekend will compete in the ITA National Individual Indoor Championships.

The Midwest Regional Championships begin today with the qualifier and the main draw begins Friday in Ann Arbor, Mic

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu