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ND Women’s Tennis: Senior captains rely on experience

Katie Heit | Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Senior co-captains Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews are no strangers to change. Both have started three consecutive seasons with a new doubles partner. However, for the first time in their collegiate careers, Frilling and Mathews will return for their second season as doubles partners with the expectation of being better than before.

Frilling and Mathews, whose 2011 season ended with a loss against USC during the Round of 16 at the NCAA tournament, are eager to see the advantages playing with a familiar partner will give them this year.

“Kristy and I have been teammates our entire career at Notre Dame,” Mathews said. “We understand each others’ game really well.”

Frilling, who has been a leading player for the Irish since her freshman year, said having a familiar partner is beneficial to her game.

“It’s been really helpful,” Frilling said. “Starting off last year was rough because we hadn’t played with each other before. It took a while to get used to.”

Mathews and Frilling have found success throughout their careers in both doubles and singles. Frilling was named the Big East Player of the Year for two straight seasons. She was also named a 2011 ITA Singles All-American. Mathews made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season in singles, before falling to Washington Huskie Venise Chan.

Mathews said she felt privileged to be Frillings’ partner and teammate.

“Kristy’s one of the best doubles players in the country,” Mathews said. “She’s proven that in her first three years at Notre Dame. Just to know that she’s an amazing partner and getting to be on the court with her has been an amazing experience.”

In practice, Frilling said she and Mathews are editing the small things about their game that fell short last season.

“I think we’re going to try to focus on playing our game, reducing errors and being consistent,” Frilling said. “Our main thing is we want to be consistent in our wins and keep it at the highest intensity and focus. We hope good things come out of that.”

Mathews said she sees an advantage in being familiar with her partner’s play.

“We’re fine-tuning our doubles game, which is a great position to be in this early in the season,” Mathews said. “We already have an understanding so we can work ahead of the game in that sense.”

Mathews said her and Frilling’s experience has a definite impact on their leadership for the team.

“At this point we’ve probably been through it all in our careers at Notre Dame,” Mathews said. “Coming in, being a senior with Kristy, and finishing our career as co-captains is going to be a lot of fun.”

Frilling and Mathews still have a few weeks before they will test their doubles play.

While the team will be in Bloomington this weekend for the Indiana Invitational, Frilling and Mathews will not see competitive action until the All-American Pre Qualifier on Oct. 1. Though she won’t play in the Indiana Invitational, Mathews has high hopes for her team.

“I’m looking for great results from them,” Mathews said. “It should be a really good experience for the girls.”

 

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu.