April 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — As the last home match of the season for the Notre Dame women’s tennis team, today was also the team’s traditional “senior day.” So before the Irish took on Virginia Tech, seniors Britney Sanders, Jennifer Kellner and Julie Sabacinski were honored on the court along with their parents. What made the day even more special was a definitive 7-0 win (Notre Dame’s fifth consecutive sweep) over Virginia Tech.
“We played all right today,” said head coach Jay Louderback. “Senior day is always hard. Our seniors started behind in singles and doubles and then got going towards the end. Senior day is a hard day, and you hope you come out with a win. We could have crumbled but we stayed focused and played really well.”
Eleventh-ranked Sanders and sophomore Quinn Gleason came back from a small early deficit to beat Carol Kahoun and Raluca Mita, 8-3. At No. 2, Kellner and Sabacinski fell to Isel Martinez-Marcos and Tea Ivanovic, 8-4. The point came down to the match on court three, where junior Molly O’Koniewski and freshman Mary Closs defeated Rebecca Harris and Kelly Williford, 8-4.
With the doubles point under their belts, the Irish made quick work of the Hokies in singles. Closs defeated Kahoun, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 5 in less than an hour. Right behind her was O’Koniewski, who defeated Ivanovic without dropping a single game, 6-0, 6-0. Freshman Monica Robinson clinched the match for Notre Dame, 6-0, 6-1.
The remaining matches all went to the Irish as well. Kellner dominated Sansitha Nandakumar at No. 3, 6-2, 6-1. Despite losing her first set, Sanders came back to win her match over Williford in a tiebreaker. She won her match at No. 1, 4-6, 6-2, (10-8). Gleason won the final match of the night against Mita, 6-3, 7-6(6).
It may have been Notre Dame’s fifth streak in a row, but this one was set apart by the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to the seniors.
“It’s very special,” said Sabacinski. “It’s very emotional. It was nice to have my parents here-everyone’s parents, Britney’s and Jen’s were able to come out, too. And to have so many people out there, I think that was the biggest crowd we’ve ever had. It was a lot of fun, but it’s sad at the same time. And with the win, it’s a really good senior day.”
1. Britney Sanders (ND) def. Kelly Williford (VT), 4-6, 6-2, (10-8)
2. Quinn Gleason (ND) def. Raluca Mita (VT), 6-3, 7-6(6)
3. Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Sansitha Nandakumar (VT), 6-2, 6-1
4. Monica Robinson (ND) def. Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT), 6-0, 6-1
5. Mary Closs (ND) def. Carol Kahoun (VT), 6-1, 6-0
6. Molly O’Koniewski (ND) def. Tea Ivanovic (VT), 6-0, 6-0
1. Britney Sanders/Quinn Gleason (ND) def. Carol Kahoun/Raluca Mita (VT), 8-3
2. Isel Martinez-Marcos/Tea Ivanovic (VT) def. Julie Sabacinski/Jennifer Kellner (ND), 8-4
3. Mary Closs/Molly O’Koniewski (ND) def. Rebecca Harris/Kelly Williford (VT), 8-4
–Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant