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ND Women’s Tennis: Three titles for Irish in Eck Classic

Matthew Robison | Monday, October 4, 2010

Notre Dame capped off a three-day event at the Eck Classic, hosted at the Courtney Tennis Center, with two singles championships.

Senior Kristen Rafael defeated freshman teammate Britney Sanders 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the Blue division. Freshman Jennifer Kellner beat Tulsa’s Anastasia Erofeeva 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7) to claim the Gold division title.

Previously, the duo of Kellner and Sanders won the Blue doubles division Saturday.

Irish coach Jay Louderback praised the performance of his senior champion.

“Kristen Rafael has be playing really well in practice,” Louderback said. “It was exciting to see it carry over in match situations.”

The Irish faced their first collegiate competition of the fall season. For the freshmen, it was their first collegiate matches of their respective careers.

“I thought we had a great weekend,” Louderback said. “It was good for our freshmen to compete against college players and they looked very good.”

Other than Kellner and Sanders, freshmen JoHanna Manningham and Julie Sabacinski, made their collegiate debuts. Manningham wrapped up play today in the green singles division by defeating Ohio State’s Kelsey Becker 6-1, 6-1.

The other advantage of this weekend’s season-opening tournament for the Irish has been the opportunity to experiment with different doubles combinations. Rafael and Manningham were the runners up in the gold division, and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan and Sabacinski finished third in the blue doubles draw.

These pairings are not set in stone, however, and Louderback will likely switch things up before he finalizes them. Louderback was pleased with the way his team played, with the exception of a few errors that could have been eliminated.

“We still need work on our doubles and finishing points in singles,” Louderback said.

Next, the Irish will compete in Regional Qualifying hosted by Michigan on Oct. 21 and 22.