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ND Women’s Tennis: Schedule released for new season

Matt Robison | Thursday, September 23, 2010

Notre Dame released its 2010-11 schedule Tuesday and revealed what could be a difficult season for the Irish.

“This year’s schedule should be very challenging not only in terms of top teams but the number of ranked teams will test us every match,” Irish coach Jay Louderback. “It is very similar to our past schedules.”

Play opens with the Eck Classic Oct. 1-3 at the Eck Tennis Center. Ohio State, Kansas, Miami (Ohio), Dayton and Akron will challenge the hosting Irish.

“We play all individual tournaments in the fall and it gives our team a chance to work on different things and not have to worry about playing a dual match,” Louderback said.

Juniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews will travel to Pacific Palisades, Calif. to participate in the All American.

Later, the Irish will participate in the Midwest Regional Oct. 22-26 hosted by the University of Michigan. Winners and at-large bids will advance to the National Indoor Individual Championships at the U.S. Open Tennis Center Nov. 4-7.

Concurrently, Notre Dame will play at the Illinois Blast in Champaign, Ill., Nov. 5-7.

The fall season ends at the Sarasota Clay Courts Nov. 12-14.

Essentially, the fall is preparation for a potentially grueling spring schedule. Although the veterans need this time to prepare as well, it is a crucial adaptation period for the freshmen.

“We have a number of freshmen on this year’s team,” Louderback said. “This fall is very important for development and them getting used to college tennis. Right now the freshmen are getting used to how we practice and the intensity every day.”

When spring rolls around, the Irish will have some serious competition awaiting them. Eighteen of the 19 opponents Notre Dame faces are in the top 75 of the ITA rankings. They play five teams that finished in the top 10 last year, including No. 3 North Carolina and No. 4 Baylor.

Depending on how the season pans out for the Irish, their toughest stretch could make or break their season.

“If we make the team indoor we could play six of the top 20 teams in two weeks,” Louderback said.

Notre Dame will host the Big East Championships for the second consecutive year Apr. 28-May 1.

“We are shooting for the Big East title and a shot at the NCAA Championships,” Louderback said.

The NCAA Championships open the weekend of May 13-15 and conclude May 20-30 in Palo Alto, Calif., as Stanford plays host.