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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish sweep Maryland after 4-3 loss to Yale

Katie Heit | Sunday, January 29, 2012

After suffering a 4-3 setback to Yale on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Irish turned their momentum around against Maryland on Sunday with an easy 7-0 victory to close out the weekend.

The No. 21 Irish had a rough start to the weekend against No. 35 Yale, dropping the doubles point right off the bat. The No. 5 duo of seniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews came out of the gate early with a victory over the No. 16 duo of Vicky Brook and Hanna Yu. However, the Irish lost their momentum when the No. 25 duo of sophomore Britney Sanders and freshman Katherine White dropped their match 9-7, and junior Chrissie McGaffigan and sophomore Jennifer Kellner fell 8-4.

“Losing that doubles point is so crucial in college tennis,” Mathews said. “That lack of energy we had was crucial going into singles because they had the momentum.”

Singles play did not produce much better results for Notre Dame. Mathews earned the first point for the Irish with her 6-0, 6-4 defeat over Seideman. The last two Irish points were earned by Kellner, who won 6-4, 6-2, and Sanders, who secured the final Irish point of the day with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory.

“We really got a great weekend from Britney Sanders,” Mathews said. “She played really well coming back from being down a set against Yale. That was huge for us to stay in the match and have her take it to three sets and keep us hanging on.”

The Irish were unable to take the win, however. Frilling, McGaffigan and White each dropped their matches in two sets, and Yale won 4-3.

On Sunday, the Irish came out determined to turn their fortunes around. Though Frilling and Mathews fell at the top doubles spot to Ana Belzunce and Welma Luus out of Maryland, Notre Dame was able to claim the doubles point.

Going into singles, Kellner and Sanders got two quick singles points with quick, straight-set victories, brining the Irish to a 3-0 lead. White then went on to clinch the Notre Dame win with her 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Mikele Irazustu.

“Katherine did a really good job today against Maryland,” Mathews said. “It was her first career clinch, which was probably the highlight of the weekend.”

Mathews closed out the day in the top singles spot, only her third career appearance in the leading singles position. Mathews embraced the position and defeated No. 25 Cristina Stancu 6-2, 6-4.

“No matter who you are playing, they’re going to work just as hard as you are,” Mathews said. “You have great opponents, no matter what position you play in the lineup. You have to go into every match focused. If you are thinking about your position, you are not really focusing on your game and focusing on what you need to be successful.”

Notre Dame will face off against the Tennessee on Friday at 4 p.m. before heading to Vanderbilt on Sunday.


Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu