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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish take two wins in Florida

Katie Heit | Monday, April 15, 2013


Despite battling unfamiliar conditions on the outdoor courts, the No. 25 Irish snatched two victories this weekend, taking down Central Florida 6-1 on Saturday and winning a long match against No. 56 South Florida 5-2 on Sunday. 

Senior captain Chrissie McGaffigan said the Irish (14-8, 3-0 Big East) excelled despite playing in very warm weather.

“It was really hot and humid both days we competed, which we are definitely not used to, McGaffigan said.” 

The Irish took control early on against Central Florida (13-7, 1-1 Conference USA), claiming the doubles point with easy 8-2 victories at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. 

In singles, the Irish dropped only one contest, as No. 40 junior Britney Sanders, lost her match 4-6, 6-4, 10-3 to Knights senior Genevieve Lorbergs. The Irish swept the remainder of singles play to claim the 6-1 victory. Freshman Julie Vrabel who filled in for injured sophomore Molly O’Koniewski, won her first career singles match at the No. 6 position. 

“Julie Vrabel had a really good match,” McGaffigan said. “She was really able to step up her performance. It was tough to play without Molly, but we knew she was rooting for us from home.” 

Against South Florida (12-7, 6-1), the doubles pair of freshman Quinn Gleason and sophomore Katherine White dropped their match 5-4 at the No. 3 spot. The No. 60 duo of McGaffigan and junior captain Jennifer Kellner and the No. 63 pair of Sanders and junior Julie Sabacinski won their matches 8-6 and 8-1, respectively, to claim the doubles point for the Irish. 

Notre Dame faced some long matches in singles play. Sanders won her match in three sets, claiming a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Bulls senior Katie Vasenina. Kellner also brought her match to three sets, but lost 6-4 in the third to give the Bulls their first point. 

Despite a loss at No. 5 singles by Katherine White, the Irish pulled off a 5-2 victory with wins at Nos. 3, 4 and 6 singles. Vrabel dropped her first set at No. 6 singles but recovered to win in a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over junior Alessandra Bonte

McGaffigan said the South Florida match was a battle from the start. 

“South Florida has a really talented team,” McGaffigan said. “We had to bright our ‘A game’ in order to beat them.” 

With two wins in the hot outdoor conditions of Florida under their belt, the Irish now turn their attention to the Big East championships, which begin Thursday.

“It will be a quick turnaround,” McGaffigan said. “I think these matches were great preparation for the Big East tournament, which will also be held in Florida.”

The Irish are back in action in the first round of the Big East championships, which start Thursday in Tampa, Fla. 

Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]