TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Notre Dame women's tennis team erased a 3-2 deficit in the final two singles matches Saturday against DePaul, claiming a 4-3 victory and advancing to the BIG EAST Championship final at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
Notre Dame will square off with second-seeded USF, who swept Pittsburgh 4-0 in the day's second semifinal match, Sunday at 9 a.m. The Irish downed the Bulls 4-1 to win the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.
No. 1 Notre Dame (16-8) clawed back into the contest at the No. 2 singles court trailing fifth-seeded DePaul (14-10) by one point. Jennifer Kellner needed a first set tiebreaker to take the advantage over Patricia Fargas 7-6, but Kellner closed out the clash 7-6, 6-4 to square the team competition at 3-3.
Britney Sanders clinched the win for Notre Dame at the first singles court in a hard-fought tilt with Matea Cutura. Sanders, the No. 39 player in the country, rebounded from a 6-3 first set defeat to close Cutura out 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 to send the Irish to their 18th straight BIG EAST Championship match.
DePaul claimed the early 1-0 edge by taking two-of-three doubles decisions. The tandem of Cutura and Ana Vladutu outlasted Kellner and Chrissie McGaffigan 8-4 at No. 1 doubles, and Fargas and Jasmin Kling triumphed by the margin at the second court over Sanders and Julie Sabacinski. The Notre Dame duo of Quinn Gleason and Katherine White were 8-1 winners against Jarret Fisher and Kelsey Lawson.
The Irish tied the match at 1-all after Gleason dropped Vladutu in straight sets at the third singles court. Gleason blanked her DePaul counterpart in the first frame and cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 victory. Fellow freshman Julie Vrabel added a 6-3, 6-3 triumph of Zaina Sufi at sixth singles to push Notre Dame in front 2-1.
DePaul countered with a pair of wins to retake the overall lead. Fisher outlasted White 6-1, 7-6 at the No. 5 court, and Lawson overcame McGaffigan 6-3, 6-4 at fourth singles to give the Blue Demons the 3-2 edge at the back half of singles play.
No. 1 Notre Dame 4, No. 5 DePaul 3
2013 BIG EAST Women's Tennis Championship
April 20, 2013
USF Varsity Tennis Courts
1. No. 39 Britney Sanders (ND) def. No. 84 Matea Cutura (DPU) 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 *
2. Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Patricia Fargas (DPU) 7-6, 6-4
3. Quinn Gleason (ND) def. Ana Vladutu (DPU) 6-0, 6-2
4. Kelsey Lawson (DPU) def. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) 6-3, 6-4
5. Jarret Fisher (DPU) def. Katherine White (ND) 6-1, 7-6
6. Julie Vrabel (ND) def. Zaina Sufi (DPU) 6-3, 6-3
1. Cutura/Vladutu (DPU) def. No. 55 Kellner/McGaffigan (ND) 8-4 *
2. Kling/Fargas (DPU) def. No. 67 Sabacinski/Sanders (ND) 8-4
3. Gleason/White (ND) def. Fisher/Lawson (DPU) 8-1
Order of Finish: 3, 6, 4, 5, 2, 1
Match Duration: 3:50
* deciding match