ND Women’s Tennis: Seniors to play final match at home
Kelsey Manning | Friday, April 13, 2012
Irish seniors and co-captains Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews will play their final match on Notre Dame’s campus Saturday as No. 19 Notre Dame takes on No. 40 South Florida.
The Senior Day matchup pits the Irish (15-7, 3-0 Big East) against a formidable South Florida squad that has won seven of its nine last contests. After defeating Texas A&M following back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Baylor, the Irish will look to close out their home season with another victory before their final regular season match at Louisville. Mathews stressed the importance of these last few matches.
“We only have a couple of dual matches left so in these last matches everything is important. Every point is really crucial across the board,” she said. “Having everybody competing really well [is important] because during a match moments can change really quick so making sure everyone’s playing every point in every game [is important].”
Mathews and Frilling, her doubles partner, are in the final stretch of illustrious college careers. This season, the duo rose to the top doubles spot in the nation at one point, and have now settled at No. 5. But Mathews said the rankings are not what matters to her.
“I don’t really focus on rankings that much, I just go out there and give it my all against whoever is on the other side of the court,” she said. “Obviously I’m going to compete as hard as I can. I’ve been working on being really aggressive and coming to the net and taking balls. Moving forward in the court has been the emphasis I’m working on the last couple of weeks, as well as making sure I’m not hesitating.”
This aggressiveness has clearly paid off this season, as Frilling and Mathews have led the way for Notre Dame doubles. The Irish have captured the doubles point in 12 of their last 13 contests, and the senior duo have won nine matches against ranked opponents this year.
Mathews and Frilling have excelled in singles as well. Frilling has accumulated 221 combined singles and doubles victories, while Mathews has 191. Mathews is Notre Dame’s highest ranked singles player at No. 54, and Frilling is ranked No. 105.
Led by junior Ecaterina Vasenina – who is currently ranked No. 42 in the nation with a 13-6 dual record – South Florida (15-7) recently defeated No. 45 Boston College. She is also part of South Florida’s No. 1 doubles team, ranked No. 49 nationally. The Irish are undefeated against the Bulls at home at 3-0 in the series, and will look to maintain that streak on Saturday.
Notre Dame takes the court against South Florida on Saturday at 3:30 pm at the Eck Tennis Center.
Contact Kelsey Manning at [email protected]