NOTRE DAME, IND. - The Bowling Green State University tennis team hung tough with the 19th-ranked team in the nation, but the host University of Notre Dame ultimately prevailed, 7-0, Friday afternoon (Jan. 18). The contest, the dual-match opener for both teams, was held inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
"Despite the 7-0 score, we really competed hard throughout the entire match today," said BGSU head coach Penny Dean. "A lot of the matches were close, but Notre Dame did a great job of utilizing their strategy, and they were able to play the big points very well.
"This was a great match for us to play so early in the season, as we learned a lot about ourselves, and it will only make us better as we continue through the dual-match schedule."
The Fighting Irish won all three doubles matches, but it was by no means easy. Two of the three contests came right down to the wire.
At the third flight, BGSU seniors Mary Hill and Jade Johnson held a 5-2 lead over Molly O'Koniewski and Julie Sabacinski, but the Notre Dame duo was able to rally for an 8-5 win. In first-flight action, it was nearly the reverse, as the BG duo made a big comeback before succumbing.
That top-flight match saw Falcon juniors Nikki Chiricosta and Emily Reuland lose the first five games against UND's Jennifer Kellner and Chrissie McGaffigan. BGSU came roaring back, however, taking six-straight games to forge ahead, 6-5. But, Kellner and McGaffigan were able to withstand the rally, answering by taking three consecutive games for an 8-6 victory over the BG duo.
The second-flight doubles match saw the Irish pick up an 8-2 win over BG seniors Maddy Eccleston and Katie Grubb.
In singles play, freshman Katie Brozovich extended her UND opponent to a third-set tiebreaker. Brozovich captured her opening set, 6-4, before O'Koniewski won the second set by an identical 6-4 score. In the 'breaker, O'Koniewski opened up a 9-5 lead, only to see Brozovich rally to within a point at 9-8. But, the Notre Dame sophomore was able to hold serve and pick up a 10-8 victory.
The Irish won in straight sets at each of the top-five flights, although Eccleston and Reuland each took their second set to a tiebreaker. At the top flight, Reuland, ranked No. 87 in the ITA singles listings, dropped her opening set to the 58th-ranked Sanders, 6-1. In the second set, however, Reuland went ahead by a 6-5 count, before Sanders knotted the match at 6-all, then eked out a 7-5 win in the tiebreaker.
Eccleston dropped her opening set to Quinn Gleason at the third flight, before battling point-for-point in the second set. That set was tied at both 5-5 and 6-6, but Gleason was able to win the tiebreaker, 7-4.
Kellner and McGaffigan picked up victories at the second and fourth flights, respectively, with Kellner topping Chiricosta, 6-4 and 6-3, and McGaffigan getting past Hill. At the fifth flight, Sabacinski defeated Johnson.
Grubb played a seventh-flight match which did not count in the final scoring, defeating Katherine White by an 8-4 result.