ASU tennis defeats Notre Dame, will play Northwestern for championship

The ASU women’s tennis team defeated Notre Dame, 4-0, today in the first round of the ITA Kick-off Weekend event.

After losing to Notre Dame earlier in the season and winning only one out of the seven singles matches, coach Sheila McInerney said this was a good victory.

“We played great, competed really well, so it was a nice win for us,” McInerney said.

Although the scoreboard showed a dominating performance from ASU, the matches were very close.

“It was much, much, much closer than the score,” McInerney said. “It was a grind for both teams and it was tough.”

The day began with the three doubles matches. Sophomore Quinn Gleason and senior Britney Sanders of Notre Dame came out strong with a 6-2 victory in the set against juniors Leighann Sahagun and Joanna Smith.

This was Sahagun and Smith’s fourth in-game round together in their career, and their performance was not enough to overcome the duo ranked No. 30 nationally.

Sophomores Ebony Panoho and Stephanie Vlad won their round of doubles play, 6-3, and sophomore Desirae Krawczyk teamed with freshman Kassidy Jump to win their round, 7-5.

This close victory ended up being a turning point in the match. It gave ASU an early lead and allowed it to start off hot.

After a slow singles start, Panoho (6-4, 6-0) shut out freshman Mary Closs of Notre Dame to get the second point for ASU.

Stephanie Vlad (6-1, 6-2) defeated Sanders with ease.

This put the team up 3-0.

“We got off to a good start by having Stephanie and Ebony get off the court quickly,” McInerney said. “That’s really helpful psychologically for the other kids.”

The other matches were battles.

“Leighann and Desirae and Kassidy all had really, really tough matches,” McInerney said.

Krawczyk, ranked No. 91, faced off against Gleason, No. 67.

“(Krawczyk) lost to her earlier in the year,” McInerney said.

Krawczyk came out with a vengeance, defeating Gleason, 6-1, in the first set. Gleason struck back with a 6-4 victory in set two.

Krawczyk won set three, beating the higher ranked opponent and winning the match for ASU.

She attributed the victory to hitting her first-serve shots at a higher percentage than she did when the two faced off in September.

“I just played my game,” Krawczyk said.

McInerney was impressed with how she handled herself in the clutch situation.

“For Des to go out and win the match, in the team situation, I think is great,” McInerney said.

By this point, ASU was winning 4-0 in the best of seven series. The remaining matches did not have to be completed.

McInerney said she appreciated this because of the physical toll the three-and-a-half hour match took on the players. Tomorrow they play against the home team, Northwestern, for the championship.

“(Northwestern) is deep,” said McInerney. “They’re solid from 1-to-6.”

Game time is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

 

Singles

 

Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Britney Sanders (Notre Dame) 6-1, 6-2

Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) def. Quinn Gleason (Notre Dame) 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (4)

Jennifer Kellner (Notre Dame) vs. Leighann Sahagun (ASU) 7-6, 3-6 (unfinished)

Ebony Panoho (ASU) def. Mary Closs (Notre Dame) 6-4, 6-0

Julie Vrabel (Notre Dame) vs. Kassidy Jump (ASU) 4-6, 7-6 (unfinished)

Julie Sabacinski (Notre Dame) vs. Gussie O’Sullivan (ASU) 7-6, 5-1 (unfinished)

 

Doubles

 

Quinn Gleason/Britney Sanders (Notre Dame) def. Leighann Sahagun/Joanna Smith (ASU) 6-2

Ebony Panoho/Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Mary Closs/Julie Sabacinski (Notre Dame) 6-3

Desirae Krawczyk/Kassidy Jump (ASU) def. Jennifer Kellner/Jane Fennelly (Notre Dame) 7-5

 

Reach the reporter at lmnewma1@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Logan_Newsman