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ND Women’s Tennis

Sanders, Gleason prove to be dynamic duo

| Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Good doubles players work off each other’s strengths, and that is exactly what Irish senior Britney Sanders and sophomore Quinn Gleason do, according to their coach, Jay Louderback.

“Quinn’s a little bit more intense sometimes than Brit, but Brit can be intense, too,” Louderback said. “I just feel like they’re a good doubles team because they both complement each other. They compete well.”

Senior Britney Sanders follows through her backhand in a match against Indiana on Sunday. The Irish defeated the Hoosiers 4-3.Emmet Farnan

Senior Britney Sanders follows through her backhand in a match against Indiana on Sunday. The Irish defeated the Hoosiers 4-3.

Louderback shook up his established doubles teams this season to put a senior at each doubles flight, and the Sanders-Gleason duo is one of the results of this strategy. Last season, Sanders primarily competed at No. 1 doubles with senior Julie Sabacinski but played with Gleason occasionally.

“It’s been good because so far we have a senior at each doubles position — one, two and three — and they’ve all played No. 1 doubles for us in the past, so it’s been great,” Louderback said. “The leadership from the seniors has been really good.”

Louderback said Gleason has played well with Sanders this spring despite missing opportunities to play with the senior during the fall season because of an injury. Playing as a team seems to come naturally for Sanders and Gleason, and Louderback said he anticipates the pair will stay together at No. 1 doubles throughout the season.

“They’re just good,” Louderback said. “They both play really good doubles, and they played a little bit together last year, but this is really their first full-time year playing together, and they didn’t get to play much in the fall because Quinn got hurt, so they haven’t played that much together, but they mesh well together. They both can play good doubles.”

Playing as a pair helps Sanders and Gleason to take advantage of their strengths and adjust to the strategies of their opponents, Louderback said.

“They both are playing on their favorite side,” Louderback said. “Quinn’s really good on the outside, and Brit has a big forehand, very good on the deuce side.”

Sanders and Gleason have beaten teams from Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Illinois so far this season and remain undefeated, although they were down 4-2 when their match was stopped Sunday against Indiana because the Hoosiers had already won the other two doubles matches to clinch the doubles point.

Louderback said it was a shame Sanders and Gleason couldn’t finish their match.

“They’ve been down in some matches, like [Sunday], they were down 4-1 and didn’t get rattled,” Louderback said. “I think they had a good chance of getting right back in that match because they don’t get rattled. They just stay in there, which is really huge playing only a six-game set. If you play a pro set to eight, it’s a little bit different, but playing to six is just intense.”

As a senior, Sanders has had time to adjust to the pressure, and Quinn adds competiveness to the pairing, Louderback said. Sanders and Gleason use these qualities to set an example from the first flight for the rest of the team.

“Brit’s been playing No. 1 doubles for us off and on for the last two years, mainly with Julie Sabacinski, so it was a different partner, but she’s been there at [number] one, and Quinn probably feels like she should have been at one the last few years,” Louderback said.

Quinn and Sanders will both hit the court for the Irish at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which begin Friday in Charlottesville, Va.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu

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