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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish open with a win at Illinois

Katie Heit | Monday, January 24, 2011

The Irish started the season with a bang in a 5-2 win against Illinois last weekend.

In their first tournament of the season, the Irish put on a good show against the Fighting Illini, winning three singles matches and two doubles matches. Junior Kristy Frilling led the way for the Irish, defeating Rachael White 6-4 and 7-5.

“I played okay,” Friling said, “I was kind of nervous and I knew the girl I was playing and I knew it was going to be a tough match. It was good to get a win under my belt for the first match of the season.”

Freshman Jennifer Kellner, captain Kristen Rafael and junior Shannon Matthews, also contributed for the Irish. Kellner established her place on the team by going 6-1 in both sets, performing well in her first collegiate matchup. She and doubles partner Chrissie McGaffigan gained another team point by winning 8-2.

“Everyone stepped up in our doubles matches,” Frilling said. “No one had really played with their partners yet and Jenny is a freshman and played five matches. She really just dominated so we’re really looking forward to the things she’s going to bring to the team this year. “

Matthews and Frilling won their doubles match 8-1 to gain the fourth point. In singles, Matthews, the second-ranked singles player on the team, won against Breanne Smutko in a 6-3 and 6-2 victory.

“I think it was a good first match for us,” Frilling said. “We knew going in it was going to be tough, I think it was good that we have more confidence going into our matches this weekend.”

Overall, Frilling has high hopes for the rest of the season, but she knows that the team needs to focus on the matches ahead of them.

“Everyone just kind of got into the groove of things,” Frilling said about this match. “They are only going to improve throughout the season.”

The Irish are in action again at home Saturday against the Yale Bulldogs.