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ND Women’s Tennis: Mathews loses in a tiebreaker

Vicky Jacobsen | Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Irish senior co-captain Shannon Mathews forced a third set tie-breaker against South Carolina senior Dijana Stojic, but ultimately fell 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) in the second round of the All-American Qualifier on Tuesday.

“She played well,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “She did a great job of fighting back in both matches, and did a great job of taking balls out of the air.”

Mathews, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) No. 38 player, appeared to be on a roll in her first round match over No. 43 Nadja Gilchrist of the University of Georgia. She won the first set 6-2, but dropped the next set without winning a single game.

Undeterred, she came back in the third set and won by a decisive 6-2 score.

This victory advanced Mathews to the round of 32, where she faced the No. 68 Stojic in the second match of the day. Stojic had moved on to the second round after defeating No. 57 Annie Goransson of Cal-Berkeley in three sets. Stojic won the third set in a tiebreaker.

Mathews kept the first set close and forced a tiebreaker, but fell 7-3. She fought back and took the second set by a tally of six games to three, but in the third and final set Stojic won her third tiebreaker of the day by a score of 7-2.

Although Mathews is eliminated from the singles competition, she will not head home yet. She and fellow senior Kristy Frilling will compete in the doubles main draw in the All-American Championships this weekend.

“Kristy and I have been working hard these past few weeks in preparation for this tournament, and we feel great about our games as well as our chances this year,” Mathews said Monday.

Frilling, who is ranked 3rd by the ITA, has already qualified for the main draw of the singles competition and will begin play Thursday.

Although Mathews did not reach the main draw of the singles competition, she can still reap the benefits of playing against top-level competition.

“This is a tournament that helps our players’ individual rankings, which can help them get into the NCAA individual championships,” Louderback said. “It gives our top two players a chance to compete against the top players in the country.”

The Irish pairing will return to the courts for the All-American Championships, which begin Thursday at the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu