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ND Women’s Tennis: Big Ten no match for Irish squad

Molly Sammon | Monday, January 25, 2010

In their first two tests of the spring season, Notre Dame kicked off its dual-meet season with a 6-1 win over Iowa and a 7-0 win over Wisconsin.

“Since we had so many players out in the fall, it was good for the kids to start playing together again,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said.

During Saturday’s match at the University of Iowa, sophomore Kristy Frilling, currently ranked No. 30 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, defeated Iowa’s No. 65 Sonja Molnar in the first singles competition in only two games. Last season, the Irish lost in the top singles position against Molnar and the Hawkeyes, but Frilling’s ability to stand the pressure of competing against the best paid off.

“[Sonja Molnar] is a really intense player and she fought really hard during the match,” Frilling said. “But in the end, I was able to close out the match.”

Sophomore Shannon Mathews, freshman Chrissie McGaffigan and seniors Kali Krisik and Cosmina Ciobanu each defeated Hawkeye players to earn five of six possible points. The Irish also swept all three of the doubles matches to top the final score off at 6-1.

“This was the first time that the doubles teams have played together,” Louderback said. “They were able to win each of the doubles matches this weekend.”

Next, the Irish traveled to Madison, Wisc. to take on the Badgers, a battle where the Irish won each of the six singles matches and all of the three doubles competitions.

Victories from Frilling, Mathews, McGaffigan, Krisik, Ciobanu and junior Kristen Rafael each contributed to the six points the Irish received as they swept the singles competition at Wisconsin.

Despite the success that the Irish experienced this weekend, the challenges of the ensuing season are motivating the women to keep working on different aspects of the game.

“We need to work on serving more,” Louderback said. “In indoor meets, good serves are a good weapon to have.”

The team is also hoping to spend this week in practice getting more matches in to ensure that they will demonstrate a competitive front for the weeks to come.

The next match will be against DePaul Saturday at Notre Dame’s Eck Tennis Pavilion.