TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Notre Dame women's tennis team began its drive for a sixth straight conference tournament title in fine fashion Friday, downing Marquette 4-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 BIG EAST Championship at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
The No. 21 Irish (15-8), the top overall seed in the tournament, swept the action at doubles to take a 1-0 match lead. Jennifer Keller and Chrissie McGaffigan got the Notre Dame lineup started with an 8-1 win over Ali Dawson and Aina Hernandez Soler of Marquette (12-12) at the first doubles court. Julie Sabacinski and Britney Sanders clinched the opening point at second doubles, downing Ana Pimienta and Erin Gebes by an identical 8-1 score.
Quinn Gleason and Katherine White did not finish their match with Rocio Diaz and Aleeza Kanner after Notre Dame earned the doubles point at the No. 2 court.
Gleason won her third consecutive singles match at the No. 3 court, defeating Hernandez Soler in straight sets. The Notre Dame freshman's 6-1, 6-1 victory gave the Irish a 2-0 team lead.
Kellner kept the momentum going at second singles, sweeping Gebes 6-2, 6-3 to extend the Irish advantage to 3-0.
No. 40 Sanders needed the full three frames at the No. 1 court against Pimenta, falling 6-2 in the second set after winning by the same margin in the first. Sanders claimed a 6-3 triumph in the final set to outlast Pimienta 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 and clinch the match for Notre Dame.
The Irish will face fourth-seeded Syracuse Saturday at a 9 a.m. in one of the two semifinal matches at the 2013 BIG EAST Championship.
No. 1 Notre Dame 4, No. 8 Marquette 0
2013 BIG EAST Women's Tennis Championship
April 19, 2013 USF Varsity Tennis Courts
1. No. 40 Britney Sanders (ND) def. Ana Pimienta (MU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 *
2. Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Erin Gebes (MU) 6-2, 6-3
3. Quinn Gleason (ND) def. Aina Hernandez Soler (MU) 6-1, 6-1
4. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) vs. Rocio Diaz (MU), unfinished
5. Katherine White (ND) vs. Ali Dawson, unfinished
6. Julie Sabacinski (ND) vs. Laia Hernandez Soler (MU), unfinished
1. No. 55 Kellner/McGaffigan (ND) def. Dawson/A. Hernandez Soler (MU) 8-1*
2. No. 67 Sabacinski/Sanders (ND) def. Pimienta/Gebes (MU) 8-1
3. Gleason/White (ND) vs. Aleeza Kanner/Diaz (MU), unfinished
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
* deciding match