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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish duo heads to New York

Vicky Jacobsen | Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Irish will compete as a split squad this weekend as seniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews travel to New York for the National Individual Indoor Intercollegiate Championships while the rest of the squad hosts the Eck Classic.

Frilling and Mathews will compete against some of the top doubles-pairings in the country at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of the U.S. Open.

“I’m really excited because it’s going to be Shannon and I’s last Indoor Nationals tournament,” Frilling said. “It’s in New York City and it’s at the U.S. Open complex, so it’s a really cool atmosphere and all the best players are there. I’m really excited for the competition and everything and the atmosphere that goes along with it.”

The Irish pairing qualified for the tournament by defeating sophomore Nida Hamilton and junior Linda Abu Mushrefova of Northwestern to capture the ITA Midwest Regional doubles title Oct. 24. Mathews was named Big East Player of the Month for October partly due to that victory.

“I am very honored to be selected as the Big East Player of the Month for October,” Mathews said. “The doubles success my partner Kristy Frilling and I enjoyed throughout October was very exciting and we look to continue that this weekend.”

Frilling and Mathews, the No. 3 seed, have a first-round bye, and will face Georgia senior Chelsey Gullickson and sophomore Lilly Kimbell in their first match of the tournament.

Frilling said she doesn’t expect to run into any unknown opponents at the tournament.

“Odds are we’re going to play somebody that we’ve played in the past or that we know a lot about, because by senior year you kind of know pretty much everyone and everyone’s been playing around for a while, so I’m sure we’ll play someone familiar,” Frilling said.

This will be the last individual Indoor Nationals for both Frilling and Mathews, so the pair wants the experience to be memorable.

“At the end of practice [Irish coach] Jay [Louderback] came up to me and Shannon and said ‘Just go and do it — have fun, play your best. It’s your last one, so just enjoy it, just take it all in,'” Frilling said. “So I really want to do that, instead of worrying about results and stuff like that I just want to have fun and play well but really enjoy it because I’ve only got so many more of those left this year.”

Although Frilling and Mathews will not be able to play in the Eck Classic, the chance to play in a national tournament more than makes up for missing a home invitational.

“I think I’m okay with it just because we play a ton at home in the spring, and that’s when we have our home team matches and everything,” Frilling said. “The fall is more individual tournaments. It’s too bad that we don’t get to play a tournament at home, but right now we have a ton to look forward to in the spring.”

At the Eck Classic the rest of the squad will face opponents from several colleges around the country, including Wake Forest.

Frilling and Mathews begin play in Flushing, N.Y. at 10 a.m. Thursday and the Eck Classic will be held in the Eck Tennis Pavilion Friday through Sunday.