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ND Women’s Tennis

ND falls in ACC openers

| Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No. 22 Notre Dame got a rough introduction to ACC play over the weekend, dropping its first two conference games at home to No. 25 Georgia Tech and away against No. 17 Miami.

The Irish (5-4) came heartbreakingly close to a win Friday but came up short in the evening’s last three matches before falling, 4-3.

The match started poorly for the Irish as Georgia Tech (4-2) handily won the doubles point. The Irish duo of sophomore Quinn Gleason and senior Britney Sanders fell to the country’s top-rated doubles pairing, Yellow Jackets sophomores Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey, by a score of 8-5.

Shortly after that defeat, Notre Dame’s pairing of senior Jennifer Kellner and freshman Monica Robinson were downed, 8-5, by Yellow Jackets sophomore Natasha Prokhnevska and senior Muriel Wacker.

Freshman Monica Robinson returns a hit against Georgia Tech on Friday. Robinson picked up a singles win against Yellow Jackets freshman Rasheeda McAdoo in the 4-3 Irish loss.Emmet Farnan

Freshman Monica Robinson returns a hit against Georgia Tech on Friday. Robinson picked up a singles win against Yellow Jackets freshman Rasheeda McAdoo in the 4-3 Irish loss.

The Irish started strong in the singles portion, winning the first sets in five of the matches. Kellner was the first to wrap up a point, as she knocked off Kurey in decisive fashion, 6-0, 6-1. The Irish then took a 3-1 lead as two freshmen, Mary Closs and Robinson, won 6-2, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively.

From there, the Irish dropped three gut-wrenching three-setters. Sophomore Julie Vrabel was the lone Notre Dame competitor to drop a first set but fought back to win the second before falling to Wacker, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

Sanders started fast against Woodard but could not quite close it out. She fended off multiple set points in the second set before dropping the tiebreaker headed into a dramatic final set. Sanders fought off two match points in the closing action, one with a sensational return winner, but still fell in the final set, 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.

With the match tied at 3, all attention turned to Gleason’s match. After splitting the first two sets with Prokhnevska, Gleason had match points, up 5-3 and 5-4. However, she failed to capitalize on those match points and eventually dropped the last four games of the set as Prokhnevsk won, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, to earn the overall victory for Georgia Tech.

In Coral Gables, Fla., on Sunday, Notre Dame’s struggles in doubles continued as Miami (6-2) jumped out to big leads and eventually won all three matches. Closs and senior Julie Sabacinski lost first, falling to Miami senior Brittany Dubins and sophomore Stephanie Wagner, 8-5. The Hurricanes top tandem of junior Monique Albuquerque and sophomore Clementina Riobueno then knocked off Sanders and Gleason, 8-4, and Miami senior Melissa Bolivar and sophomore Kelsey Laurente closed out the doubles portion with a dominant 8-2 win over Kellner and Robinson.

Miami continued its dominance into singles play as none of the matches even saw a third set. Kellner only won one game as Riobueno secured a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Albuquerque was similarly commanding in her 6-2, 6-1 win over Closs. Sanders and Vrabel got off to strong starts, but both stumbled to 6-3, 6-3 defeats to Wagner and Bolivar, respectively. Gleason’s match was again the last on-court but was not nearly as dramatic as her Friday display, as Laurente rolled to a 6-4, 6-2 win.

The Irish got their only point of the day from Robinson, who beat Miami junior Lina Lileikite, 6-2, 6-4, but the Irish fell to the Hurricanes, 6-1

The Irish will look to rebound as they visit top-ranked Duke on Friday, with matches starting at 6 p.m.

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