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ND Women’s Tennis: Underclassmen gain experience in final fall matches

Vicky Jacobsen | Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Irish concluded their fall season with a partial squad at the 2011 Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

“I think it was a great way to finish up the season because it was a fun, relaxed tournament, but still had a competitive edge,” sophomore JoHanna Manningham said.

Sophomore Britney Sanders, the No. 4-seed, had the best showing of the weekend for the Irish. After a first-round bye, she defeated Yana Mavrina, a sophomore from Temple, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3). In the quarterfinals she fell, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, to Memphis senior Mariya Slupska, who went on to defeat her own teammate, junior Courtney Collins, for the singles title.

Freshman Katherine White also had a first-round bye, but despite winning the first set she lost the match, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, to Sarah Toti, a freshman from Tennessee. She dropped her consolation match to Mississippi State freshman Petra Ferancova, 6-2, 3-6, 10-6.

Manningham beat Temple senior Paola Calderon by a score of 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in the first round, but was defeated by freshman Meghan Blevins of Oklahoma State 6-3, 6-2 in her next round.

“The competition was very fun and it was a great experience to have an outdoors tournament,” Manningham said. “NCAAs in the spring is outdoors, but unfortunately we spend most of our season indoors, so it was good to get some more experience.”

Sophomore Julie Sabacinski faced Memphis sophomore Stefanie Mikesz in the first round, losing 6-2, 6-1. She won the first set of her consolation match 6-3 and moved on to the next round when her opponent, Mississippi State sophomore Roseline Dion, retired. Sabacinski forced a third set but lost her next match to Marvina, 7-6, 3-6, 10-4.

“It was a good tournament,” Sabacinski said. “I would have liked to have had a better tournament [performance-wise,] I think all of us would, but it was a nice tournament to end the fall with and it was fun and nice weather.”

The four also teamed up for the doubles draw. Sabacinski and Manningham lost, 8-4, to the Tennessee duo of freshmen Joanna Henderson and Caitlyn Williams. Sanders and White had a first round bye and swept their first opponents, Oklahoma State’s juniors Malika Rose and C.C. Sardinha, 8-0. They ran into trouble in the semifinal round, losing 8-5 to Tennessee’s sophomore Brynn Boren and Toti, the eventual winners.

The Irish also had to adjust to playing on clay after competing on hard courts all fall.

“It’s just slower. The points are longer; you have to be ready to play longer points,” Sabacinski, who grew up playing on clay courts in Florida, said. “It was definitely hard to make a transition onto clay when we’ve been playing indoors, but I think once we started playing we were fine.”

The Irish have completed the fall half of their schedule, which is used mostly to tune up for the more team-oriented spring season.

“We got to play a lot of matches which is really what we all needed in the end,” Sabacinski said. “I think it was best for all of us.”

The Irish won’t head into competition again until next semester, when they face Cincinnati at home Jan. 21.


Contact Vicky Jacobsen at [email protected]