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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish look to defend home court

Molly Sammon | Friday, February 19, 2010

After suffering their first loss of the season against North Carolina on Jan. 31, the Irish host Illinois Saturday and top-ranked Northwestern Sunday.

“We are treating these matches like our national indoor since we didn’t make it to the tournament,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “I think we will be excited to play both teams for different reasons.”

First this weekend, the Irish will take on the Fighting Illini, who are not currently ranked in the NCAA but still boast a highly respectable program in collegiate women’s tennis.

“Illinois is coached by Michelle Dasso who was an All-American at Notre Dame and was my assistant for three years,” Louderback said. “With Michelle coaching at Illinois we know they will play hard and be ready to take us on.”

The Irish will attempt to take down the nation’s best women’s tennis team, the Northwestern Wildcats, Sunday. The Wildcats recently moved up to No. 1 after winning last weekend’s ITA Kick-Off Weekend National Tournament, which the Irish did not qualify for after the loss to North Carolina.

“With Northwestern we are excited to play the top-ranked team to see where we stand,” Louderback said. “We always have good matches against Northwestern.”

Aside from being the top team in the nation, the Irish look toward the Wildcats as a big rivalry as the two teams have played each other for many seasons in a row.

“We play [Northwestern] every year, and we know the coaches, the players, their attitudes, their playing styles, basically everything,” sophomore Kristy Frilling said. “Every year is more competitive than the next, so I’m anticipating an intense match with them on Sunday.”

Frilling will more than likely play Northwestern’s Maria Mosolova, who was ranked in the nation’s top singles position last season and defeated Frilling in the fall portion of the season.

The Irish lost the doubles point in their last win against Michigan, so Louderback has been working on rearranging their doubles lineup a little to ensure that Notre Dame wins the ever crucial doubles point in both matches this weekend.

“I think this weekend we have changed the doubles teams a bit, to get a different feel and to see how these new teams work out,” Frilling said. “We’ve been practicing with these different teams the past two weeks, and everyone is looking good and excited to try these changes this weekend.”

Notre Dame hosts Illinois at 1 p.m. Saturday and Northwestern at 1 p.m. Sunday.