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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish face DePaul, Marquette

Chris Allen | Friday, April 16, 2010

The No. 5 Irish will wind down the regular season against No. 22 DePaul today before facing Marquette on Senior Day Sunday in the final regular season matches of the year. Seniors Cosmina Ciobanu, Kali Krisik and Colleen Rielley will be honored at the Courtney Tennis Center prior to Sunday’s match.

The Irish (17-3) come into Friday’s match against DePaul fresh off the defeat of two Top-40 opponents in Texas A&M and South Florida. DePaul (15-3) will offer no respite as they look for revenge after losing 6-1 to the Irish in January.

“DePaul is pretty tough, this is probably the best year they’ve ever had for their program,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “We’ve had some real good matches with them, including the Big East Tournament last year. They compete in every match.”

Leading the Irish into the weekend is sophomore Kristy Frilling, ranked No. 15 in the latest ITA singles poll. Frilling recently nabbed her second Big East Player of the Week honor after going 4-0 between first singles and doubles against Texas A&M and South Florida. Louderback said he believes Frilling’s improvement in her sophomore season is due to mental toughness.

“She’s worked very hard this year,” Louderback said. “Going into the year she knew she was going to be number one and the competition is always good up there. Mentally, she’s just been a lot tougher. As a freshman, she struggled in some matches, and in the ones that she lost she really got killed. This year she’s been in every match and has gotten much tougher over the course of the match.”

Backing up Frilling, Ciobanu has been perfect this season in the middle of the singles lineup, something which Louderback said he believes has contributed to his team’s strong depth.

“Our depth is very good,” Louderback said. “That’s one of our strengths. When people have been down, others have stepped up and won some big matches for us. Whether its Cosmina, who hasn’t lost a match all season, or Kristen Rafael or Shannon Mathews, our players have hung in their in big matches.”

Marquette (12-11) has struggled to stay above .500 on the season, but the Irish are expecting a challenge from the Golden Eagles, especially at first singles from sophomore Gillian Hush.

“Their record isn’t too good, but they’ve played well against top competition,” Louderback said. “They’re a scrappy bunch and they don’t really have big hitters but their singles is particularly tough.”

The Irish look to enter the postseason on a strong note in its matches against DePaul Friday at 5 p.m. and Marquette Sunday at 10 a.m.