Feb. 19, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A day after suffering a tough 4-3 setback, the 23rd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team found itself on the winning side of a 4-3 outcome, besting 57th-ranked Illinois Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The Irish (6-3), opposite of Saturday’s match against North Carolina, fell behind to the Fighting Illini (5-2) after dropping the doubles point. A day after earning their first win of the season as a doubles team, sophomores Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) dropped an 8-2 decision to Marisa Lambropoulos and Melissa Kopinski at No. 2 doubles to level their season record at 1-1.
The Illini then clinched the point as Irish seniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.), ranked third nationally, were upset by Rachael White and Allison Falkin at No. 1, 8-5. The Irish won the final doubles contest as Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) won an 8-7 (7-3) contest over Chelcie Abajian and Breanne Smutko at No. 3.
Notre Dame jumped back ahead early in singles play, however, as the Irish senior co-captains earned wins at the top two singles courts. Frilling claimed the first singles victory of the day, downing Falkin, ranked 120th, 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 2 court. Mathews then closed out Lambropoulos at No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-2 to give the Irish a 2-1 lead in the match.
Illinois fought back to take the next two points and move the team to match point. At No. 6, Katherine White (Columbus, Ga.), getting her first action of the weekend for the Irish, dropped a 6-3, 6-2 contest to Abajian. McGaffigan then fell 6-0, 7-5 to White at No. 5 singles. The Irish junior was looking to even the match up at one-set apiece after taking a 5-2 lead in the second set but White claimed each of the final five games to close out the match.
With the Illini one point away from victory, the match came down to Kellner and Sanders to lead the Irish to a come-from-behind win. Kellner faced off with Kopinski at No. 3 singles looking to rebound from only her second dual season loss on Saturday. The Irish sophomore did just that, taking down Kopinski 7-5, 6-2 to level the match at 3-3.
The final match saw Sanders take on Amy Allin, who did not compete in doubles action, at the No. 4 court. Sanders earned a straight-set win (6-4, 7-5) to close out the Irish victory. Trailing 5-4 in the second set, the Irish sophomore reeled off three straight games to claim the set and match and push her overall dual record to 8-1 on the year.
Notre Dame continues its homestand Friday as the squad welcomes in-state rival Indiana to the Eck Tennis Pavilion with first serve scheduled for 3:00 p.m. (ET).
Illinois vs. Notre DameFeb. 19, 2012 at Notre Dame, Ind.Eck Tennis Pavilion#23 Notre Dame 4, #57 Illinois 3
Singles competition1. #39 Shannon Mathews (ND) def. Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) 6-1, 6-22. Kristy Frilling (ND) def. #120 Allison Falkin (ILL) 6-0, 6-13. #124 Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Melissa Kopinski (ILL) 7-5, 6-24. Britney Sanders (ND) def. Amy Allin (ILL) 6-4, 7-55. Rachael White (ILL) def. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) 6-0, 7-56. Chelcie Abajian (ILL) def. Katherine White (ND) 6-3, 6-2
Doubles competition1. Rachael White/Allison Falkin (ILL) def. #3 Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) 8-52. Marisa Lambropoulos/Melissa Kopinski (ILL) def. Julie Sabacinski/Britney Sanders (ND) 8-23. Chrissie McGaffigan/Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Chelcie Abajian/Breanne Smutko (ILL) 8-7 (7-3)
Match Notes:Illinois 5-2; National ranking #57Notre Dame 6-3; National ranking #23Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,1,6,5,3,4)