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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish rebound on outdoor courts

Katie Heit | Tuesday, March 19, 2013

After a tough loss against No. 12 Georgia on March 12, the No. 19 Irish bounced back with victories at UAB on Thursday and No. 25 Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Senior captain Chrissie McGaffigan said the team had a difficult time adjusting to the outdoor courts after playing indoors all season.

“We quickly had to adapt to the wind, sun and slower pace,” McGaffigan said.

In their match against the Bulldogs (11-2), the Irish (11-5) dropped all three doubles matches, giving Georgia the 1-0 lead. In singles, No. 49 junior Britney Sanders hung in for three sets with No. 7 Lauren Herring, eventually losing 6-0, 5-7, 1-0 (10-3).

Sophomore Katherine White was the only member of the Irish squad to earn a singles victory, defeating Lilly Kimbell 7-5, 3-6, 10-6.

Thursday’s match was a complete turnaround for the Irish. Against UAB (8-6), the Irish went undefeated in singles and doubles play. At No. 1 doubles, the No. 60 ranked duo of McGaffigan and junior Jennifer Kellner snatched a close 8-6 victory over UAB’s Menanteau Moolman and Rachel Daniell.

The Irish were on fire in singles play. All six players won their matches in two sets, sweeping the victory for Notre Dame.

In their final match of the week against Georgia Tech (6-6), Kellner and McGaffigan lost at No. 1 doubles but White and freshman Quinn Gleason dominated at No. 3 doubles, winning 8-2, and juniors Britney Sanders and Julie Sabacinski clinched the doubles point for the Irish, winning 8-5.

McGaffigan and sophomore Molly O’Koniewski struggled in singles play, dropping their matches at No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively.

Despite the losses, the rest of the Irish squad claimed victories, finishing the match 5-2.

McGaffigan said having so many games in such a short stretch of time drained the team’s energy.

“The girls persevered and gave everything they had until the very last point,” McGaffigan said. “Our team thrives off one another’s energy on the court so we were able to stay strong in all three matches.”

White was the top performer of the week with strong play in her home state against the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets.

“I think her impressive performance shows how hard she has been working,” McGaffigan said. “She had a fantastic streak of matches.”   

The Irish will be back in action March 27 at 4 p.m. at home against Michigan.

Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]