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ND Women’s Tennis

Jane Fennelly brings Ireland to ND

| Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sophomore and Ireland-native Jane Fennelly came a long way to play tennis at Notre Dame, but the trip seems worthwhile given her 3-0 record in both doubles and singles matches in 2015 so far.

Her win streak was highlighted by wins over No. 15 Michigan on Sunday, though the No. 19 Irish as a team fell to the Wolverines 5-2.

“I was really proud of Jane this weekend, as she won both her singles and doubles matches,” Irish junior Quinn Gleason said. “She has been working really hard, so I’m excited to see that her effort is really paying off.”

Notre Dame junior Quinn Gleason, who occasionally partnered with sophomore Jane Fennelly in doubles play in the past, volleys the ball during a 4-3 loss to Georgia Tech in Eck Tennis Center on Feb. 21, 2014.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Notre Dame junior Quinn Gleason, who has occasionally partnered with sophomore Jane Fennelly in doubles play, returns a shot during a 4-3 loss to Georgia Tech in Eck Tennis Center on Feb. 21.

Fennelly’s reasons for coming to Notre Dame were far from traditional.

“I’m from Dublin, and I first connected with Notre Dame when the football team was playing Navy [in 2012], and the men’s tennis team came with them to play against my national team [the Irish David Cup team] in Ireland,” Fennelly said. “So that’s how I first got introduced to Notre Dame. I talked to the men’s team, and they helped me get in here. Thank God they did, or I wouldn’t be here. I’m really enjoying my time here so far.”

Fennelly said adjusting to life at Notre Dame and life in America was challenging initially.

“At first, the adjustment to American life was tough,” Fennelly said, “but it wasn’t as hard as I kind of expected. The people here are so welcoming, especially once I made friends, which was easy to do here. Then everything got a lot easier.”

Fennelly has had a love-hate relationship with her sport from an early age, she said.

“I actually started playing when I was really young, probably three or four, and I hated it, so I quit,” Fennelly said.

Fortunately for the Irish, Fennelly gave tennis another shot.

“I picked it up again when I was 10, and haven’t really stopped since,” Fennelly said.

Fennelly said she has some high hopes for herself and her team, with a match against No. 8 Stanford looming on Friday.

“This is my first season in the starting lineup, and I had a good first win in the match this weekend, and I hope I can just improve upon that, get better with each week and help my team out as much as I can,” Fennelly said.

Gleason expressed admiration for Fennelly’s ability to transition to tennis in America.

“This summer I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, for six weeks and I was able to see the club Jane plays at when she’s home. It’s really impressive how good Jane is considering she practices primarily on Astroturf when she’s home. I hit on them a little when I was there and it felt like I was playing a totally different game,” Gleason said. “Also, Jane was an amazing field hockey player and had offers at other D-I schools for that. Jane is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, she does more off-court work than anyone else on the team, and I think it’s really helped her game in the last year.”

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