ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team claimed the early advantage at doubles before winning the final three singles decisions of the day to defeat NC State 4-1 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Championship at the University of Michigan Varsity Tennis Center.
The No. 24 Irish (18-8) swept consecutive decisions at the first and second doubles courts to take a 1-0 match lead. The 82nd-ranked tandem of Britney Sanders and Julie Sabacinski got Notre Dame off to a fast start at the second court, downing Elisa Hande and Nicole Martinez 8-4. No. 76 Jennifer Kellner and Chrissie McGaffigan clinched the opening point for the Irish at the first court with an 8-6 victory at first doubles over Joelle Kissell and Tatiana Illova.
A matchup at the third court between Notre Dame’s Quinn Gleason and Katherine White and NC State’s Chloe Smith and Sophie Nelson was not finished after the Irish claimed the doubles point.
NC State (14-10) squared the match at the fourth singles court at 1-1. Rachael James-Baker brought the Wolfpack back into the contest with a straight-set win, 6-2, 6-1, over Notre Dame’s McGaffigan.
The Irish would not lose a match the rest of the way, as Kellner got the winning started at No. 2 singles. Kellner swept Illova 7-6, 6-3 to vault Notre Dame on top 2-1. Gleason fell behind early in her match with Smith at third singles 4-6, but righted the contest with a 6-1 second set. The freshman continued her impressive rookie season by closing out Smith 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to give the Irish a 3-1 advantage.
A three-set battle between Sanders and Kissell ensued at the No. 1 court, with the Notre Dame product taking a 6-3 advantage after one frame. Kissell responded with an identical 6-3 result in set two to send the battle to the third and deciding set. Sanders secured the match point for the Irish with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win.
Notre Dame advances to the second round of the NCAA Championship, and will face No. 10 Michigan Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis Center.
No. 24 Notre Dame vs. No. 42 NC State
2013 NCAA Championship, First Round
Varsity Tennis Center
Ann Arbor, Mich.
No. 1 -- Britney Sanders (ND) d. Joelle Kissell (NC State), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
No. 2 -- Jennifer Kellner (ND) d. Tatiana Illova (NC State), 7-6, 6-3
No. 3 -- Quinn Gleason (ND) d. Chloe Smith (NC State), 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
No. 4 -- Rachael James-Baker (NC State) d. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND), 6-2, 6-1
No. 5 -- Katherine White (ND) vs. Elisha Hande (NC State), 5-7, 6-1, 4-3 DNF
No. 6 -- Julie Vrabel (ND) vs. Nicole Martinez (NC State), 4-6, 7-5, 3-1 DNF
No. 1 -- Kellner/McGaffigan (ND) d. Kissell/Illova (NC State), 8-6
No. 2 -- Julie Sabacinski/Sanders (ND) d. Hande/Martinez (NC State), 8-4
No. 3 -- Smith/Sophie Nelson (NC State) vs. Gleason/White (ND), 8-7 DNF
Order of Completion: Doubles 2-1; Singles 4-2-3-1