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ND Women’s Tennis: Mathews looks for strong career finish

Katie Heit | Wednesday, November 16, 2011

For senior captain Shannon Mathews, her final season at Notre Dame means the culmination of a lifetime of competitive tennis and the chance to leave it all on the court.

Mathews is one of two Irish seniors on the team, the other being doubles partner and fellow captain Kristy Frilling. Frilling and Mathews have been teammates for the last four years and, entering their final season, are looking to make their mark on the University.

“Going into our senior year, we definitely want to put everything out there,” Mathews said. “It’s our last spring season and it’s our last season playing for Notre Dame, and both of us are going to put our heart and soul into every match every time we’re on the court.”

Mathews, who has received All-Big East honors in each of her years at Notre Dame, is eager to keep up her streak of success. The Irish have won the Big East Championship every year that Mathews and Frilling have been a part of the team, and Mathews said she plans on continuing that streak.

“We would love to win another Big East Championship,” Mathews said. “Our ultimate goal is to bring home a national championship for Notre Dame.”

As the Irish enter the winter off-season, Mathews said the focus will be maintaining the squad’s work ethic and off-court conditioning.

“Obviously we have to continue working day in and day out to achieve those goals,” Mathews said. “We need to come to practice and give it everything we can. It’s the little things that are going to lead us to our ultimate goals for the team.”

As her Irish career comes to an end, so does Mathews’ career as a competitive tennis player.

“I’ve been playing tennis since I was 8 or 9,” Mathews said. “I’ve been doing it for so long and it’s been such a huge part of my life that it’s sad that it’s kind of coming to an end, but that just makes me want to work even harder and end my time at Notre Dame and my chapter of really competitive tennis in my life on a really good note.”

Next year, Mathews will work as a financial services consultant in Chicago, but said she has no intention of giving up tennis completely.

“I’m not going to hang up the racket forever, but I definitely won’t be playing as competitively as in the past,” Mathews said. “Moving forward, tennis will be in my future, just in a different way than it has in the past.”

Mathews said that she will especially miss the team aspect of collegiate tennis.

“Growing up, tennis is really individual,” Mathews said. “It’s mostly singles and you’re kind of on your own. Coming to college is just such an amazing experience, having seven other girls on the team. We get along so well and we’re working so hard day in and day out for the same goals.”

In preparation for her final campaign, Mathews reflected on her experience at Notre Dame. According to the senior, it is her bond with her teammates that has been the most rewarding part of her college career.

“Building those amazing relationships that I’ve had has been amazing,” Mathews said. “I still keep in contact with teammates who are doing things all over the country. Those relationships have been so special to me.”

 

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu