April 21, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team had a test on its hands in semifinal action of the BIG EAST Championship, but emerged with a 4-0 victory over DePaul Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Courts to again advance to the title match. The Irish, who will meet host USF in the championship, have advanced to the championship contest each of their 17 years in the league.
Doubles got off to a quick start with the tandem of junior Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and sophomore Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) winning 8-0 at the No. 3 court over Cali Gustafson and Carolin Newmann. The duo earned their first win of the tournament after not finishing during Friday’s quarterfinal matchup and now sit at 19-5 on the dual season.
The remaining two matches both saw back-and-forth action but, trailing 5-4 in the match on the No. 1 court, seniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) reeled off four consecutive games against Jasmin Kling and Gia McKnight to clinch the opening point, 8-5. The pairing has now won five straight matches on the year and is 17-6 overall.
Sophomores Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) led their match against Patricia Fargas and Kelsey Lawson at No. 2 (8-7) before it was abandoned once the doubles point was clinched.
In singles play, Sanders started slowly in her match against McKnight at No. 3 but battled back to claim the opening point of action and move the lead to 2-0. After falling behind 3-0 to her opponent, Sanders reeled off 12 of the next 14 games to conclude the match (6-4, 6-1) and earn her team-leading 20th victory on the dual season.
Freshman Katherine White (Columbus, Ga.) again slotted in at No. 6 singles for the Irish, earning her second victory of the tournament and advancing the score to 3-0 with her 6-3, 6-1 win over Gustafson. Having now played singles in five consecutive contests, White is currently riding a four-match winning streak and is now 8-7 on the dual season.
The match went final at No. 2 singles when Frilling finished off Fargas 6-1, 6-1 for her fourth straight victory. The Irish co-captain improved her season record to 17-9 with the win.
The remaining three matches saw Mathews leading Kling at the No. 1 court (6-3, 2-2), Kellner trailing Lawson at No. 4 singles (6-7 (5-7), 2-1) and McGaffigan tied with Newmann (4-6, 6-0) at the No. 5 court at the time of abandonment.
With the win, the Irish advance to play USF in the championship match Sunday at 9 a.m. (ET). The two teams are no strangers in the BIG EAST Championship, having played each other four times in the past six years. In those four contests, the Irish hold a 3-1 advantage and have won the past two matchups. Last season, Notre Dame held on for a 4-2 victory over USF to win its fourth consecutive BIG EAST title.
Be sure to check back with UND.com following completion of the match for a complete recap as the Irish look to capture their fifth consecutive BIG EAST title and follow @NDWomensTennis on Twitter for in-match updates.
Singles Competition:1. Shannon Mathews (ND) vs. Jamin Kling (DPU) 6-3, 2-2 DNF2. Kristy Frilling (ND) def. Patricia Fargas (DPU) 6-1, 6-1*3. Britney Sanders (ND) def. Gia McKinght (DPU) 6-4, 6-14. Kelsey Lawson (DPU) vs. Jennifer Kellner (ND) 7-6 (5), 1-2 DNF5. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) vs. Carolin Newmann (DPU) 4-6, 6-0 DNF6. Katherine White (ND) def. Cali Gustafson (DPU) 6-3, 6-1
Doubles Competition:1. Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) def. Jasmin Kling/Gia McKnight (DPU) 8-5*2. Julie Sabacinski/Britney Sanders (ND) vs. Patricia Fargas/Kelsey Lawson (DPU) 8-7 DNF3. Jennifer Kellner/Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Cali Gustafson/Carolin Newmann (DPU) 8-0
Match Notes:Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1*); Singles (3, 6, 2*)* - clinching point