Sept. 26, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team began its fall season at home on Friday as the Irish played host to the Notre Dame Invitational, officially opening their 2014-15 campaign.
The morning featured two sets of doubles matches, while the afternoon consisted of singles competition. All three Irish doubles tandems won their opening matches, but fell in second-round matches.
“I thought we played very well, especially in doubles,” says Irish head coach Jay Louderback. “With all of our teams being new combinations, and no one having played together before, I was very pleased with how we did our first time out.”
The Irish duo of sophomores Mary Closs and Jane Fennelly were the first off the court as they handed the Louisville doubles team of Ellie Gerlach and Elle Stokes an 8-3 setback. Shortly after that match ended, senior Molly O’Koniewski and freshman Allie Miller earned an 8-4 victory over Emily Dvorak and Kayla Klier of Tulane. Junior Julie Vrabel and senior Katherine White bested Madie Baillon and Julia Jamieson of Illinois 8-2 to complete the sweep for the Irish in their first three double matches.
“This fall, we’re trying a new format where (in singles) we play no adds – if the score goes to deuce, the next point wins the match,” Louderback says. “We haven’t played that way before, so today was a good learning experience for us, and what’s good is that all the matches were very close.”
Shortly after picking up three wins in their opening-round matches, the Irish doubles teams returned to the court, but were not as successful in those second-round matches against the doubles teams from Purdue. Vrabel and White dropped an 8-5 decision to Krisztina Kapitany and Nicole Robinson, while Closs and Fennelly were bested by Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum and Daniela Vidal, 8-4. O’Koniewski and Miller ended up on the short end of an 8-6 setback to Andjela Djokovic and Deborah Suarez.
Notre Dame’s lone win in eight singles matches came when Closs out-dueled Illinois’ Louise Kwong 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets. Despite suffering seven losses during the singles portion, four of those came in hard-fought, three-set outings.
Vrabel, who was a key component in last year’s run to the NCAA Sweet 16 and will serve as a team leader this season, lost both of her sets to Daniela Vidal of Purdue, 6-4, 6-2.
Fennelly squared off with Illinois’ Grace Tapak, in a match that went back and forth in both matches before Tapak prevailed with a 6-3, 6-3 win. One court over, junior Darby Mountford lost both of her sets to Ellie Gerlach of Louisville, 6-4, 6-0.
Miller, White, O’Koniewski and Alaina Roberts all turned up the heat as the afternoon wore on, with each of their matches going to three sets. Miller lost her first set to Nicole Robinson (Purdue) 6-4, but stormed back and won the second set 6-3. Robinson wasn’t quite finished though, and came back to claim the third set, 6-3.
On the other side of the Courtney Tennis Center, White and Jade Hilton (Illinois) battled back and forth, as Hilton won the first set 6-3, only to see White prevail 6-4 in the second. Hilton finally emerged victorious with a 6-3 win in the decisive set.
Roberts and Dvorak of Tulane had the closest-scored matches of the day. Dvorak won the first set 6-2, only to have Roberts win the second set 6-5. Dvorak’s power proved to be too much as she finished off Roberts 6-0 in the final set.
In the final – and longest – match of the day, O’Koniewski and Purdue’s Deborah Suarez also went the distance. Suarez won the first set in a 7-6 tiebreaker, only to have O’Koniewski win the second set 6-0. In the final set of the match, the two players battled for every point, with Suarez slipping by O’Koniewski, 7-5, to win the match.
Day two of the Notre Dame Invitational begins Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and should finish around 5:00 p.m., with Sunday concluding the tournament. Stay tuned to und.com or follow the Irish on Facebook and Twitter for all tournament updates.
NOTRE DAME RESULTS:
Daniela Vidal (Purdue) def. Julie Vrabel (Notre Dame) 6-4, 6-2
Mary Closs (Notre Dame) def. Louise Kwong (Illinois) 6-1, 6-4
Grace Tapak (Illinois) def. Jane Fennelly (Notre Dame) 6-3, 6-3
Ellie Gerlach (Louisville) def. Darby Mountford (Notre Dame) 6-4, 6-0
Nicole Robinson (Purdue) def. Allison Miller (Notre Dame) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Jade Hilton (Illinois) def. Katherine White (Notre Dame) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
Deborah Suarez (Purdue) def. Molly O’Koniewski (Notre Dame) 6-7, 6-0, 6-4
Emily Dvorak (Tulane) def. Alaina Roberts (Notre Dame) 6-2, 5-6, 6-0
Mary Closs, Jane Fennelly (Notre Dame) def. Ellie Gerlach, Elle Stokes (Louisville) 8-3
Allie Miller, Molly O’Koniewski (Notre Dame) def. Emily Dvorak, Kayla Klier (Tulane) 8-4
Julie Vrabel, Katherine White (Notre Dame) def. Madie Baillon, Julia Jamieson (Illinois) 8-2
Krisztina Kapitany, Nicole Robinson (Purdue) def. Julie Vrabel, Katherine White (Notre Dame) 8-5 Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum, Daniela Vidal (Purdue) def. Mary Closs, Jane Fennelly (Notre Dame) 8-4
Andjela Djokovic, Deborah Suarez (Purdue) def. Allie Miller, Molly O’Koniewski (Notre Dame) 8-6