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ND Women’s Tennis: Frilling leads team into Big Ten competitions

Molly Sammon | Friday, January 22, 2010

Notre Dame will make its first road trip as a team Saturday, stopping at both Iowa and Wisconsin to check out some of the competition that the Big Ten has to offer.

“I think it will be good for us to open up on the road against two Big Ten schools,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “The Big Ten is getting tougher each year.”

Iowa has a very experienced team, boasting many seniors and juniors, and each of the teams are under new administrations, vying to start off the season with a win.

“Both Iowa and Wisconsin have coaches in their first or second year so they both are on the rise,” Louderback said.

This match-up against Iowa marks the first meeting of two very talented sophomores, Iowa’s Sonja Molnar and Notre Dame’s Kristy Frilling, who were both named “Freshman of the Year” by their respective conferences.

“The Big Ten is definitely a formidable force in women’s tennis,” Frilling said.

Due to injuries, the Irish women’s tennis team did not travel together during the fall portion of this year’s season, though a few members engaged in personal competitions in different parts of the country.

“We need to get out on the road as a team,” Louderback said. “We have some new doubles teams this season and once our kids get the experience of playing together I think our doubles will be very good.”

Both Louderback and Frilling stress the importance that this weekend will hold as the team’s first chance to travel and play together.

“I think our team has a lot of drive and desire to prove that we are one of the best teams in the country,” Frilling said. “Even though tennis is an individual sport, we all work together as a team and I think that really helps us.”

This weekend’s trip will feature the debut of heralded freshman Chrissie McGaffigan.

“[McGaffigan] is so talented, and I’m really excited that she is going to experience her first Notre Dame dual match this weekend in her home state of Iowa,” Frilling said.

Though the team struggled with injuries in the fall, Louderback emphasizes that the team is ready for competition and has a substantial amount of returning talent.

“We have a very experienced team with three seniors and five of our top six back from last year,” Louderback said. “Right now we are healthy and ready to go.”