ND Women’s Tennis
ND falls in ACC openers
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 25, 2014
No. 22 Notre Dame got a rough introduction to ACC play over the weekend, dropping its first two conference games at home to No. 25 Georgia Tech and away against No. 17 Miami.
The Irish (5-4) came heartbreakingly close to a win Friday but came up short in the evening’s last three matches before falling, 4-3.
The match started poorly for the Irish as Georgia Tech (4-2) handily won the doubles point. The Irish duo of sophomore Quinn Gleason and senior Britney Sanders fell to the country’s top-rated doubles pairing, Yellow Jackets sophomores Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey, by a score of 8-5.
Shortly after that defeat, Notre Dame’s pairing of senior Jennifer Kellner and freshman Monica Robinson were downed, 8-5, by Yellow Jackets sophomore Natasha Prokhnevska and senior Muriel Wacker.The Irish started strong in the singles portion, winning the first sets in five of the matches. Kellner was the first to wrap up a point, as she knocked off Kurey in decisive fashion, 6-0, 6-1. The Irish then took a 3-1 lead as two freshmen, Mary Closs and Robinson, won 6-2, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively.
From there, the Irish dropped three gut-wrenching three-setters. Sophomore Julie Vrabel was the lone Notre Dame competitor to drop a first set but fought back to win the second before falling to Wacker, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
Sanders started fast against Woodard but could not quite close it out. She fended off multiple set points in the second set before dropping the tiebreaker headed into a dramatic final set. Sanders fought off two match points in the closing action, one with a sensational return winner, but still fell in the final set, 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.
With the match tied at 3, all attention turned to Gleason’s match. After splitting the first two sets with Prokhnevska, Gleason had match points, up 5-3 and 5-4. However, she failed to capitalize on those match points and eventually dropped the last four games of the set as Prokhnevsk won, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, to earn the overall victory for Georgia Tech.
In Coral Gables, Fla., on Sunday, Notre Dame’s struggles in doubles continued as Miami (6-2) jumped out to big leads and eventually won all three matches. Closs and senior Julie Sabacinski lost first, falling to Miami senior Brittany Dubins and sophomore Stephanie Wagner, 8-5. The Hurricanes top tandem of junior Monique Albuquerque and sophomore Clementina Riobueno then knocked off Sanders and Gleason, 8-4, and Miami senior Melissa Bolivar and sophomore Kelsey Laurente closed out the doubles portion with a dominant 8-2 win over Kellner and Robinson.
Miami continued its dominance into singles play as none of the matches even saw a third set. Kellner only won one game as Riobueno secured a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Albuquerque was similarly commanding in her 6-2, 6-1 win over Closs. Sanders and Vrabel got off to strong starts, but both stumbled to 6-3, 6-3 defeats to Wagner and Bolivar, respectively. Gleason’s match was again the last on-court but was not nearly as dramatic as her Friday display, as Laurente rolled to a 6-4, 6-2 win.
The Irish got their only point of the day from Robinson, who beat Miami junior Lina Lileikite, 6-2, 6-4, but the Irish fell to the Hurricanes, 6-1
The Irish will look to rebound as they visit top-ranked Duke on Friday, with matches starting at 6 p.m.