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ND Women’s Tennis: Frilling, Mathews win title, advance to national championship

Vicky Jacobsen | Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Irish senior co-captains Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews captured the ITA Midwest Regional doubles title Monday, earning themselves a ticket to the ITA National Individual Indoor Championship in New York City.

“It’s awesome ­— I think Shannon and I are really excited to go to New York and play,” Frilling said. “We’re really excited to move forward and play at the national tournament.”

Frilling and Mathews, the no. 2-seeded pairing, grabbed a quick lead they never relinquished, defeating top-seeded Northwestern partners Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton by a final score of 8-2.

Mushrefova and Hamilton knocked out another Irish duo, junior Chrissie McGaffigan and sophomore Jennifer Kellner, in the quarterfinals Sunday. McGaffigan and Kellner fell behind early, but with Northwestern leading 7-2 the Irish rallied to win four straight games. The comeback was not enough to defeat Mushrefova and Hamilton, who took the next game to win the match 8-6, but McGaffigan and Kellner proved to be invaluable scouts for their teammates.

“We had some insight into how they play,” Frilling said. “We also played them a few times last year, so we know how they play their game, and it was good to use that going into the match.”

Unfortunately for Frilling and Mathews, any good mojo from taking the doubles title didn’t carry over to their individual matches. Frilling faced Northwestern junior Brittany Wowchuk in the quarterfinals, and though she jumped out to a 4-1 lead she dropped the next five games and the next set, losing 6-4, 6-4. Mathews’s quarterfinal match went in much the same way, and she lost 6-3, 6-4 to Michigan freshman Emina Bektas.

“It’s really hard to play a lot of matches in a day, but I think we tried our hardest,” Frilling said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t come out with the results in singles, but we’re happy that we got to win the doubles.”

Although Frilling and Mathews had a title to take home, they weren’t the only ones to take something positive from the weekend.

Sophomore Julie Sabacinski won two matches in the qualifying rounds Thursday and Friday to qualify for one of eight spots in the main draw before falling to junior Kara Cecil of Ohio State 6-4, 6-3 in the round of 48 Saturday. She paired with sophomore JoHanna Manningham in the doubles main draw, but the two lost to Cleveland State senior Catrine Bjerrehus and junior Maria Lazaris, 8-6 in the first round.

Irish sophomore Britney Sanders beat Western Michigan sophomore Nini Sujashvili 6-2, 6-1 before dropping two sets 7-5, 6-1 against Northwestern junior Kate Turvey.

Irish freshman Katherine White won one of her two matches Saturday, beating Ohio State’s Tiffany Dittmer, a sophomore, 6-3, 6-2 in the round of 48. She was eliminated from the main draw later that day by Michigan’s Bektas, who won 6-3, 6-2.

“We got to watch a lot of our teammates play and they look like they’re doing pretty well, too,” Frilling said. “I think we all have things that we can work on, but it’s good that we have a few more months before the season so that we can work on our games to get ready for next year.”

Frilling and Mathews will take on the toughest duos in the nation at the ITA National Individual Indoor Championship in New York City Nov. 3-6. Meanwhile, the rest of the squad will be busy hosting the annual Eck Tennis Classic Nov. 4-6.

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