Jan. 31, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- In a series of tough matches and close tiebreakers, the University of Notre Dame women's tennis team claimed victory today over the Fighting Illini, 4-3.
"I thought Illinois played really well," says head coach Jay Louderback. "Especially at some spots in singles. They played very well. It was a little disappointing how we competed today, because you always know Illinois is going to compete hard and well. The tiebreakers make things interesting."
The Irish had to battle to claim the doubles point to start off the match. Although they were up early, senior Jennifer Kellner and freshman Monica Robinson fell at No. 2 doubles to Allison Falkin and Jerricka Boone, 6-2. It was the duo's first loss together.
Senior Julie Sabacinksi and freshman Mary Closs were next off the court at No. 3, having beaten Misia Kedzierski and Louise Kwong, 6-4. The doubles point came down to the match at No. 1, where senior Britney Sanders and sophomore Quinn Gleason were tied at 5-5 with Melissa Kopinski and Alexis Casati. Sanders and Gleason went on to win the next two games for the Irish, taking the match, 7-5, and the doubles point.
Closs was the first match off the court at No. 4 singles, falling to Kedzierski, 6-4, 6-2. Sophomore Julie Vrabel collected her first singles win at home, defeating Boone at No. 5 singles, 6-4, 6-3.
With the Irish up 2-0, the match came down to a series of tiebreakers. Sabacinski lost her first set at No. 6 to Kwong but came back to win the second, 7-5. She lost the match in a heartbreaking third-set tiebreaker, 10-8. Minutes later, Sanders claimed victory at No. 1 in her own tiebreaker, winning the match against Kopinski, 6-4, 3-6, (10-6).
Then Kellner fell at No. 3 after to Casati after two close sets, 7-5, 6-4. The match came down to a final tiebreaker on court 2, where Gleason pulled out a win over Falkin, 6-3, 3-6, (10-5). Her win clinched a 4-3 victory for the Irish over Illinois.
Notre Dame will be back in action Sunday at 10 a.m. as they welcome Indiana to the Eck.
"It was good for us to win a tight match. I have a feeling it's going to be another one like that on Sunday," Louderback says. "Indiana is very good also, so it could end up another match like this."
1. Britney Sanders (ND) def. Melissa Kopinski (ILL), 6-4, 3-6, (10-6)
2. Quinn Gleason (ND) def. Allison Falkin (ILL), 6-3, 3-6, (10-5)
3. Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Alexis Casati (ILL), 7-5, 6-4
4. Misia Kedzierski (ILL) def. Mary Closs (ND), 6-4, 6-2
5. Julie Vrabel (ND) def. Jerricka Boone (ILL), 6-4, 6-3
6. Louise Kwong (ILL ) def. Julie Sabacinski (ND), 6-1, 5-7, (10-8)
1. Britney Sanders/Quinn Gleason (ND) def. Melissa Kopinski/Alexis Casati (ILL), 7-5
2. Allison Falkin/Jerricka Boone (ILL) def. Jennifer Kellner/Monica Robinson (ND), 6-2
3. Julie Sabacinski/Mary Closs (ND) def. Misia Kedierski/Louise Kwong (ILL), 6-4
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant