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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish step up in clutch to handle Marquette

Matthew Robison | Monday, April 18, 2011

The No. 22 Irish took down Marquette by a tally of 6-1 in Milwaukee Sunday behind a sweep in the singles portion of the matchup. Juniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews, freshman Jennifer Kellner, senior Kristen Rafael, sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan and freshman Julie Sabacinski took the six singles matches without anyone dropping a set. Frilling and Mathews took the No. 1 doubles matchup earlier in the day.

“We definitely needed to win this match, especially since Marquette is in the Big East and we are getting ready for the conference tournament,” Frilling said.

McGaffigan said the team struggled in doubles despite the singles domination.

“We were pretty solid in our singles matches,” McGaffigan said “But we need to pick it up in doubles.”

Frilling, the No. 4 ranked player in the country, moved to 16-2 in the dual season and claimed her 82nd career win.

Mathews moved to 15-3, Kellner went to 17-3 after winning her sixth straight match, and Rafael won her fourth straight match.

Heading into singles, Notre Dame (12-9) trailed as Marquette (17-9) took the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matchups.

McGaffigan and Rafael fell 8-6 and Kellner and Sabacinski dropped their match 8-5. But after the singles sweep, the Irish came out with a decisive victory.

“It is always exciting to get a win against a conference opponent,” McGaffigan said. “We are hoping that our momentum from this match will carry through next week against DePaul.”

Sunday was the first time Notre Dame dropped the doubles point all season. In their previous 20 matchups, the Irish dominated in doubles and always gave themselves a lead heading into singles.

After the victory, the Irish have one more regular season matchup, against DePaul Saturday at home at 1 p.m.

“We will keep working hard on playing aggressive but consistent tennis,” McGaffigan said. “[Marquette and DePaul] are great preparation for the Big East tournament.”

The conference tournament runs from April 28 to May 1 at the Eck Tennis Center.