The lone senior on the Irish roster, Kristen Rafael ended her Irish career on a seven-match winning streak, going a perfect 7-0 after moving to No. 4 singles.

Irish Eliminated From NCAA Tournament By Northwestern, 4-0

May 14, 2011

EVANSTON, Ill. – The 20th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team could not overcome 14th-ranked and 16th-seeded Northwestern on Saturday at the Combe Tennis Center, falling 4-0 in the NCAA Second Round. It is the first time in five years that the Irish have fallen short of making the Round of 16.

Northwestern claimed the opening point of the match, snaring the doubles point away from the Irish. At No. 1 doubles, the pairing of juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) were no match for Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, losing 8-2. It is the first loss for Notre Dame’s No. 1 pairing in the last 17 decisions and drops their record to 19-4 this season.

The point then went final at No. 3 doubles, where the Irish team of freshmen Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) lost to Maria Mosolova and Kate Turvy, 8-4. Notre Dame jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the match but could not keep momentum going, dropping eight of the following 10 games.

Senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) led 7-6 over Elena Chernyakova and Brittany Wowchuk at No. 2 doubles when the point was clinched, causing the match to be abandoned.

Momentum did not change as singles got underway. At. No. 1, Frilling could not counter the defensive play of Mosolova, losing in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. It was only the junior’s fourth loss in a very successful dual season that saw her earn BIG EAST Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Kellner was next to run into a tough matchup, as Turvy of the Wildcats posted the third point of the match with a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Kellner finishes her freshman campaign with an impressive 19-6 dual campaign.

With the match in the balance, all attention turned to No. 5 where Sanders made her first dual start of the season for the Irish. The freshman battled with Stacey Lee but in the end could not overcome her opponent, falling 6-4, 7-6 (7-1).

Although the match finished up 4-0, the full story was not told as the Irish held leads in each of the final three matches still on court. At. No. 2, Mathews was serving for her match against Wowchuk up 6-3, 2-6, 5-2 when it was abandoned. McGaffigan shared a similar score at No. 6 against Hamilton, leading 6-3, 3-6, 5-2.

The final match still in progress saw Rafael holding a 6-4, 4-5 advantage over Abu Mushrefova when the contest went final.

Notre Dame finishes the season with a record of 17-10. Two members of the team, Frilling and Mathews, have not seen their season come to a close however, as they now prepare for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. The two juniors take to the courts May 25-30 in search of an NCAA Championship.

NCAA Tournament Second RoundNotre Dame vs. Northwestern at Combe Tennis CenterNorthwestern 4, Notre Dame 0
Singles Competition:1. Maria Mosolova (NU) def. Kristy Frilling (ND) 6-2, 6-22. Shannon Mathews (ND) vs. Brittany Wowchuk (NU) 6-3, 2-6, 5-2, unf.3. Kate Turvy (NU) def. Jennifer Kellner (ND) 6-2, 6-04. Kristen Rafael (ND) vs. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) 6-4, 4-5, unf.5. Stacey Lee (NU) def. Britney Sanders (ND) 6-3, 7-6 (7-1)6. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) vs. Nida Hamilton (NU) 6-3, 3-6, 5-2, unf.
Doubles Competition:1. Linda Abu Mushrefova/Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) 8-22. Chrissie McGaffigan/Kristen Rafael (ND) vs. Elena Chernyakova/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) 7-6, unf.3. Maria Mosolova/Kate Turvy (NU) def. Jennifer Kellner/Britney Sanders (ND) 8-4
Match Notes:Northwestern: 22-7Notre Dame: 17-10Order of Finish: Singles (1,3,5); Doubles (1,3)