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ND Women’s Tennis: Notre Dame faces tough matchups with renewed focus

Matt Robison | Wednesday, March 9, 2011

While some students may be heading to warmer climates to soak up the sun during spring break, the No. 14 Irish will be heading to Tampa, Fla., for work, not play. It will be no easy vacation as Notre Dame (8-5) will face South Florida, No. 3 Duke, and No. 18 Tennessee over three days.

The Irish fell to No. 7 Baylor this weekend, but sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan said the team has a new focus and will set its sights directly on the challenges ahead, rather than hearkening back to the loss.

“We play three top teams and we are looking forward to some very good tennis,” McGaffigan said. “We are training hard and fine-tuning our games so we will be prepared to play.”

Duke (10-2) will likely be the toughest task for the Irish as they come in with their only losses to No. 2 Florida, one in a home matchup and the other in the National Indoors in Charlottesville, Va.

Tennessee (7-3) enters the event with all three of their losses coming in the National Indoors and South Florida (3-7) will be playing at home.

Junior Kristy Frilling said the Irish are confident that the trip will leave them with the spark they need to advance into the rest of their schedule.

“Coming out with three wins would really boost team confidence especially coming into the latter part of the season,” Frilling said.

So far, the Irish have not played outside of the Eck Tennis Center at Notre Dame this season, and the trip to a warmer climate will offer an opportunity to play outdoors.

“It’ll be tough because it’s a lot of matches in a short span of time,” Frilling said. “But it’s also good because we’re finally getting to the outdoor season and I think we are definitely more of an outdoor team.”

Notre Dame’s first match is Tuesday at 11 a.m. against South Florida. The Irish will then face Duke March 17 at noon and Tennessee March 19 at 10 a.m.