May 12, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team, for the second time in as many postseason trips, saw its season come to an end at the hands of Northwestern, falling 4-2 to the Wildcats Saturday at the Combe Tennis Center. The Irish finish the year with a record of 21-8.
Both squads battled through a back-and-forth doubles point before the Irish emerged to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Seniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) showed why they are the eighth ranked team in the nation, taking down Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning in the widest margin of victory of doubles competition, 8-4. The win marked the Irish duo’s eighth consecutive victory and improved the team to 21-6 on the dual season.
Northwestern would fight back to tie doubles at one match apiece as sophomores Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) and Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) fell to Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuk at the No. 2 court, 9-7. Trailing 7-5 and down a break point, the Irish pairing fought back to win the game and level the set at 7-7 but the Wildcats’ tandem rebounded to claim the next two games and the match.
Notre Dame then turned to junior Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and sophomore Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) at No. 3 in search of the decisive doubles win. After surrendering the opening two games of the set, the Irish duo reeled off eight of the next 11 games against Kate Turvy and Belinda Niu to post an 8-5 win, their seventh straight win of the dual campaign.
The Wildcats then stormed out in singles play to take a 3-1 lead in the matchup. Kellner fell to Corning at No. 4 singles (6-1, 6-0) in the lone straight-sets singles contest of the match to knot the score at 1-1 before the Irish dropped a pair of three-set heartbreakers that saw Sanders lose to Wowchuk (0-6, 6-4, 6-1) at No. 3 and freshman Katherine White (Columbus, Ga.) lose to Hamilton at No. 6 (0-6, 6-3, 6-2).
Frilling pulled Notre Dame back within one point, as she secured her seventh consecutive win at the No. 2 court, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, against Niu. Trying to square the match at 3-3, McGaffigan trailed 40-15 down 5-4 at the No. 5 court against Abu Mushrefova in third set before fighting back to break her opponent’s serve and level the decisive set at five. McGaffigan, however, could not finish the match, losing the next two games while battling leg cramps to drop the set, 7-5, and lock up the victory for the Wildcats.
Mathews’ match against Turvy at No. 1 singles was abandoned with the Irish senior on serve with her Wildcat counterpart in the third set, 4-6, 7-5, 1-2.
Despite seeing their team season come to a close, Mathews and Frilling now turn their attention to the NCAA Individual Championships. Mathews will compete in both the singles and doubles draw, while Frilling will team with Mathews in the doubles tournament. Competition is set to take place May 23-28 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Singles Competition:1. #34 Shannon Mathews (ND) vs. #20 Kate Turvy (NU) 4-6, 7-5, 1-2, unfinished2. #122 Kristy Frilling (ND) def. Belinda Niu (NU) 4-6, 6-1, 6-33. #82 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Britney Sanders (ND) 0-6, 6-4, 6-14. Veronica Corning (NU) def. Jennifer Kellner (ND) 6-1, 6-05. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) 4-6, 6-2, 7-56. Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Katherine White (ND) 0-6, 6-3, 6-2
Doubles Competition:1. #8 Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) def. #85 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) 8-42. Nida Hamilton/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Julie Sabacinski/Britney Sanders (ND) 9-73. Jennifer Kellner/Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Kate Turvy/Belinda Niu (NU) 8-5
Match Notes:Northwestern 20-8; National ranking #12Notre Dame 21-8; National ranking #20Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2, 3) Singles (4,3,6,2,5)