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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame faces test in early-season tournament

| Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fresh off of a pair of convincing victories over the past weekend, the Irish get back to work this weekend with a tournament in Evanston, Ill., that already holds end-of-season implications.

Notre Dame (2-0) will compete in a tournament that features Northwestern, Oklahoma State, and Arizona State (2-0).

Irish senior Jennifer Kellner serves during a home meet last season. Kellner is a two-time all-Big East honoree.Observer File Photo

Irish senior Jennifer Kellner serves during a home meet last season. Kellner is a two-time all-Big East honoree.

Irish coach Jay Louderback said the tournament is a great early opportunity to see some of the best players in collegiate women’s tennis.

“The great thing for us is that all four teams are in the top 28 to top 29,” Louderback said. “I think Oklahoma State is ranked 29 and they’re the lowest-ranked team. It’s really good, especially early in the season, for us [to have this opportunity.]”

Not only does this tournament serve as a chance for the Irish to get their feet wet against tough competition, but it provides an early opportunity to qualify for postseason play. The winner of the tournament this weekend will go on to compete at the NTA National Team Indoor finals. Notre Dame’s first opponent is Arizona State, a team coming off a doubleheader sweep of Northern Arizona to start their season.

“We played some singles and doubles matches against Arizona State in the fall and all of the matches were tight,” Louderback said. “We lost two of them, won three of them in three sets so we know it’s going to be a tough, tough match.”

Notre Dame will turn to the strong play of team members such as sophomore Quinn Gleason, who won both of her matches the last time the Irish played with. The Irish will also be looking to continue riding a wave of youthful success, as freshmen Jane Fennelly, Mary Closs and Monica Robinson scored their first wins in dual matches.

Louderback said he is confident in his team going into the weekend’s play.

“It’s going to be fun for us to play that early against that good of teams,” Louderback said. “And we’re ready, I think our kids will play good ball. And if everyone’s healthy we have a really good doubles lineup too. We’re ready.”

The Irish take on Arizona State on Saturday in Evanston, Ill. Match time is 3 p.m.

 Contact Mike Ginocchio at mginocch@nd.edu








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