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ND Women’s Tennis: Freshman Kellner debuts

Megan Finneran | Tuesday, October 5, 2010

At the age of six, Jennifer Kellner took a lesson that led her down a path that eventually landed her on the Irish tennis team.

Twelve years later, the freshman began her college career this past weekend at the Eck Classic.

Kellner’s mother, who played tennis for Fordham University during her college days, saw an ad in the newspaper for a free tennis lesson years ago, which she decided might be a good fit for her daughters.

“After that we began to play more and more and ever since then tennis has just stuck,” Kellner said.

Since those first lessons, Kellner has qualified for the high school state tournament in New York multiple years and was named Long Island’s Player of the Year. She joined the Irish from Hauppaige High School in Smithtown, N.Y., where she won the 2008 state championship.

Throughout high school, Kellner had college tennis on the agenda, but the location was always an unknown. That changed when she visited Notre Dame, and as so many before her, knew she had found her school.

“After visiting Notre Dame I knew it was where I wanted to be for the next four years. I loved the campus spirit, the school, the religious environment and the girls on the team,” Kellner said. “I could really see myself being there.”

As a freshman, she is just starting to get in the swing of college tennis and college itself — the balance of work and play.

“The most difficult part about adjusting has been balancing my schoolwork with tennis by basically using every minute that I have,” Kellner said.

Despite the workload, Kellner knows she is in a good place, surrounded by teammates and coaches who can always help.

“I like how we are such a small team and give each other motivation during both practice and competition. I like how the coaches can talk, help and motivate us during the matches,” she said.