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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish doubles continue to improve as team wins

Matthew Robison | Monday, April 4, 2011

The No. 19 Irish took down two rivals in the Eck Tennis Center this weekend as they beat Long Beach State Friday 5-2 and followed with a 6-1 victory over Texas A&M Saturday.

Against the 49ers, junior Kristy Frilling, junior Shannon Mathews, freshman Jennifer Kellner and senior Kristen Rafael won at the top four singles spots and swept the doubles portion. The Irish (11-8) then won five of the six singles matchups and two of the three doubles matchups to beat the Aggies.

Notre Dame is getting ready to head into its final stretch of the season before the postseason tournaments begin. The pair of wins at home was crucial to both momentum and positioning.

“Both teams we played this weekend had some really strong players so we were really pleased to come away with two wins,” sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan said.

McGaffigan dropped her match at No. 5 singles Friday, but followed up with a 6-2, 3-0 win Saturday. Both days, McGaffigan and senior Kristen Rafael won their doubles matchup.

“I feel like our doubles continue to improve with each match,” McGaffigan said. “Our hard work is paying off.”

Mathews said the doubles point is crucial to consistently winning matches.

“Winning the doubles point in both matches this weekend was very key,” Mathews said. “Our doubles teams are starting to click with each of the teams stepping up and making major contributions in capturing the doubles point.”

With only three matches remaining in the regular season against No. 18 Northwestern, Marquette and DePaul, the Big East tournament is rapidly approaching. The Irish, it appears, seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.

“We have been training really hard and I feel like we are going to be at our best for the Big East tournament,” McGaffigan said.

The Irish faced some tough teams earlier in the season and their record took a hit because of it. In March, Notre Dame dropped three straight to Baylor, USF and Duke. The Irish have since turned their season around and look to keep the winning streak alive heading into the postseason.

The Irish face Northwestern Thursday in Evanston, Ill.