ND Women’s Tennis: Mathews to play in qualifying tournament
By Vicky Jacobsen | Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Shannon Mathews, the nation’s No. 38 women’s collegiate tennis player, will participate in the 64-player qualifying pool in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Tuesday to try to secure a spot in this weekend’s All-American Championships.
The senior will first play No. 43 Nadja Gilchrist from the University of Georgia. Mathews will need to win that match, plus two more across Tuesday and Wednesday, to be one of the eight finalists in the 32-player main draw.
Mathew’s teammate Kristy Frilling, ranked No. 3 in the country, is one of those 32. Together, the two make up the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s fifth-ranked women’s doubles pair, and are already entered in the main draw of the 24-team doubles field.
This is the second consecutive year that the duo has automatically qualified for the main pool. Last year, the two defeated a pairing from Yale before falling to the nation’s top-ranked pairing from the University of California in the round of 16.
“This is a tournament that helps our players’ individual rankings, which can help them get into the NCAA individual championships,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “It gives our top two players a chance to compete against the top players in the country.”
Mathews echoed her coach’s enthusiasm for meeting her toughest competitors.
“I look forward to this opportunity,” Mathews said. “Kristy and I have been working hard these past few weeks in preparation for this tournament and we feel great about our games as well as our chances this year.”
Sizing up some of the best competition in the country will be exciting, but it’s not the only thing on Mathews mind. She said she hopes the Southern California weather will live up to its reputation and bestow a bit of much-appreciated sunshine on the Irish.
“I always enjoy playing tennis outdoors, especially in California,” Mathews said. “Unfortunately, I think it will actually be warmer in South Bend this week than Pacific Palisades, but maybe Mother Nature will surprise us.”
Matthews will represent the Irish at the Riviera Tennis Club for All-American Qualifying in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Contact Vicky Jacobsen at [email protected]