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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish top two ranked squads

Katie Heit | Monday, February 25, 2013

The No. 22 Irish notched two more wins in their pursuit of a fifth straight Big East title with a 4-2 victory over No. 19 Baylor on Saturday and a 4-3 win over No. 60 Indiana on Sunday.

Notre Dame (7-3) took control early against Baylor (4-7) on Saturday at Eck Tennis Pavilion, claiming the doubles point with victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Junior Jennifer Kellner and senior Chrissie McGaffigan battled through a long match against Baylor junior Alex Leatu and freshman Kiah Generette, eventually defeating the pair 9-8 (7-5) in a tiebreaker.

Freshman Quinn Gleason and sophomore Katherine White also claimed a doubles victory in a tiebreaker, winning at No. 3 doubles 9-8 (7-2).

McGaffigan said Gleason and White played a big part in the team’s win.

“Quinn and Katherine won the last two doubles points in tiebreakers,” McGaffigan said. “They really showed how tough they are.”

The Irish battled through their singles matches, falling behind when White and freshman Julie Vrabel each dropped their matches. White lost to freshman Maria Biryukova, 6-2, 6-4 and Vrabel fell to Leatu, 6-4, 6-3.

With the Bears ahead 2-1, the Irish began their comeback, winning matches at No. 1, 2 and 4 singles.

McGaffigan said the win over a highly-ranked team is an excellent confidence booster for the Irish.

On Sunday, the Irish hit the road and faced Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. Kellner said the match against Indiana (8-3), held less than a day after the close game against Baylor the day before, was a testament to Notre Dame’s strength.

“Indiana was a good match for us to win,” Kellner said. “It showed we can tough it out when everyone’s a bit tired.”

The Irish had to overcome a large deficit against the Hoosiers. After winning the doubles point, the Irish lost three straight singles matches. McGaffigan, Vrabel and sophomore Molly O’Koniewski lost at Nos. 4, 5 and 6 singles, bringing the score to 3-1 in favor of Indiana.

Kellner and Gleason made it a tie game, with each winning in three-set matches. Junior Britney Sanders completed the comeback with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Indiana senior Leslie Hureau, clenching the victory for the Irish.

The Irish will be back in action Thursday when they host Western Michigan at 5 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]