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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish open spring season at home

Katie Heit | Thursday, January 19, 2012

The highly touted Irish begin their competitive season this weekend with a match against Cincinnati on Saturday, followed by matches against Missouri and IPFW on Sunday.

The contests pose new challenges for a Notre Dame squad that has not faced any of this weekend’s opposing squads in several years.

“This is our first time playing these teams,” senior captain Kristy Frilling said. “We don’t really know much about them. We’re just going into it ready to play our matches and see what happens.”

The Irish squad returned a week early from winter break and has spent the extra time preparing for upcoming competition. With the beginning of the season comes new goals, and Frilling is ready to make the best of her final semester at Notre Dame.

Frilling said she and fellow captain and senior Shannon Mathews plan to make this season their best with the Irish.

“We want to win all of our matches, and we’re really looking forward to our senior season,” Frilling said. “We plan on putting our heart in every match and making sure it comes back with good results.”

Mathews said that having three matches so early in the season serves as a great starting point for herself and her teammates.

“We’re really excited for these three matches,” she said. “We’re fortunate to have three matches to test our doubles play and our singles and things we’ve been working on at practice.”

Mathews added she is looking forward to see the goals the team set in the beginning of the season come to fruition.

“As a team right now, one of the main goals is to come out and give everything, every practice and every match,” Mathews said. “We’re hoping to bring home another Big East championship. We’re taking it match by match. Our first goal is to take care of business against Cincinnati and then we’ll take it match by match, focusing on the little things and the little details that will give us the success later in the season.”

As co-captains, Frilling and Mathews have been working to keep their team motivated.

“We’ve been trying to keep everyone very motivated and very excited about the matches,” Frilling said. “It’s super exciting for the freshmen and sophomores because this is only their first or second time around, and the first match is always the most exciting because you want to make the best of it.”

Mathews added she would like to make up for the late loss in doubles competition with her partner Frilling at Nationals last fall.

“A little revenge after the fall season would definitely be sweet,” Mathews said.

The Irish will take the court against Cincinnati on Saturday at 1 p.m. at home before taking on Missouri at 11 a.m. and IPFW at 5 p.m. in a pair of Sunday matches.