Jan. 20, 2013
URBANA, Ill. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team withstood a late rally by Illinois during singles play, ultimately hanging on for a 4-3 victory Sunday at the Atkins Tennis Center.
The 19th-ranked Irish (2-0) moved to 25-8 all-time against the Fighting Illini. Notre Dame, off to a 2-0 dual match start for the fifth consecutive season, is now 21-2 against Illinois (2-2) under head coach Jay Louderback.
Senior Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) dropped the first set to Breanne Smutko 6-3 at the No. 4 singles court, but responded with a 6-4 victory of her own in the second set. Trailing 2-0 in the third, McGaffigan won the final six points of the set to clinch a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win and secure the team victory for Notre Dame.
Sophomore Molly O’Koniewski (Hilton Head, S.C.) moved to 2-0 in her Irish dual career, downing Audrey O’Connor at the No. 6 court. O’Koniewski gave Notre Dame a 3-2 advantage in the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win in straight sets.
Junior Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) enjoyed a solid performance on the No. 2 court, downing No. 59 Allison Falkin 6-3, 6-0. The triumph was Kellner’s first career victory over a top-60 opponent in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
O’Koniewski and junior Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) got the Irish off to a fast start in the doubles portion of the match, downing Falkin and Julia Jamieson 8-3 on the No. 3 doubles court. The victory moved O’Koniewski and Sabacinski to 2-0 overall early in the dual season.
Notre Dame clinched the all important doubles point with an 8-3 victory by freshman Quinn Gleason (Mendon, N.Y.) and junior Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) over Smutko and O’Connor at court two. Kellner and McGaffigan led the No. 11 duo of Melissa Kopinski and Rachael White 6-5 when their match was abandoned after Notre Dame secured the team doubles win.
The Irish return to competition Jan. 26 at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Lincoln, Neb. Notre Dame will meet Georgia Tech in the event’s opening match, with the winner taking on either host Nebraska or Tennessee in the championship round Jan. 27. A consolation match between the remaining two teams will also be held on Jan. 27.
No. 19 Notre Dame at No. 24 Illinois
Atkins Tennis Center
1. No. 106 Melissa Kopinski (ILL) def. No. 58 Britney Sanders (ND) 6-3, 6-3
2. Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. No. 59 Allison Falkin (ILL) 6-3, 6-0
3. Rachael White (ILL) def. Quinn Gleason (ND) 7-5, 6-3
4. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Breanne Smutko (ILL) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. Misia Kedzierski (ILL) def. Julie Sabacinski (ND) 5-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5)
6. Molly O’Koniewski (ND) def. Audrey O’Connor (ILL) 6-2, 6-3
1. No. 11 Melissa Kopinski/Rachael White (ILL) vs. Kellner/McGaffigan (ND) 5-6, unfinished
2. Gleason/Sanders (ND) def. Smutko/O’Connor (ILL) 8-3
3. O’Koniewski/Sabacinski (ND) def. Falkin/Julia Jamieson (ILL) 8-3
Notre Dame 2-0; National ranking #19
Illinois 2-2; National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (2,1,3,6,4,5)