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ND Women’s Tennis: Seniors advance in New York

Vicky Jacobsen | Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Irish ended the first day of the ITA National Indoor Championships with mixed results, as senior doubles partners Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews moved on to the semifinal round before Frilling was eliminated from the singles main draw in the round of 32.

The Irish duo, the No. 3 seed in the women’s doubles draw, defeated the Georgia tandem of senior Chelsey Gullickson and sophomore Lilly Kimbell, 8-2.

“We came out and played really well,” Mathews said. “They won the first game but we went on to win the next six games. We really came out aggressive and I think it was really good that we stayed aggressive for the entire match. We played our game and kept our strategy and we adjusted really well, so all around it was a really good match.”

This is the second tournament for Gullickson and Kimbell as doubles partners. Despite their inexperience playing together, the Bulldogs still posed a formidable threat; ninth-ranked Gullickson was the NCAA singles champion her sophomore year and competed in the 2010 U.S. Open as an amateur.

“We knew a little bit about Gullickson from playing her before and that kind of thing, and a couple of our teammates have played a different teammate from Georgia but we hadn’t, so they were unfamiliar to us,” Mathews said. “We went in and adjusted really well. We didn’t know much about one of the girls, but we did a good job adjusting and sticking to our game plan.”

Frilling did not enjoy the same outcome in her match against freshman Zoe Scandalis of USC. Frilling dropped the first set 6-4, but fought Scandalis to a 3-3 tie in the second set before Scandalis took the next three games to win the match and move on to the round of 16.

“[Kristy] battled really well against a great player from USC,” Mathews said. “[Scandalis] won their regional as a freshman, so she’s a great competitor and it was a really good match for both of them.”

Frilling and Mathews will face Duke freshmen Ester Goldfeld and Beatrice Capra in their second match.

“We were able to see a little of their match this morning against Oklahoma, but they’re pretty unfamiliar to us,” Mathews said. “We’re going to keep playing our game and keep being aggressive and going for those volleys and sticking with our game plan no matter who we play.”

While the opportunity to compete against some of the toughest competition in the country is exciting, Mathews said that playing at the site of the U.S. Open was also an experience in and of itself.

“It was awesome. Yesterday we … got to practice on the courts and the indoor facilities,” Mathew said. “We were able to get a tour of the courts and all the facilities here at the U.S. Open, which was a great experience, and then we went for the players and coaches banquet. Being on the courts and the facilities was just a great honor and experience.”

Frilling and Mathews will play their quarterfinal match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. on Friday.