Jan. 4, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team, for the 22nd consecutive year dating back to the 1990-91 season, finds itself in the preseason ITA rankings as the squad begins the year ranked 20th according to the ITA polls, which were released Tuesday evening. Additionally, two Irish doubles teams placed in the top 25 of their respective poll.
This is the first set of rankings for the dual season. Starting Jan. 24 and continuing weekly through June 6 a new set of team rankings will be released, while starting Feb. 14 and continuing bi-weekly through June 6 new sets of singles and doubles rankings will be revealed.
In addition to opening the year nationally ranked for the 22nd straight season, the Irish also placed within the top 20 for the sixth straight year dating back to the 2006-07 season when they began the year ranked fourth. The Irish earn the preseason ranking primarily based on the body of work from last dual season, which saw the squad go 17-10 and earn a spot in the second round of the NCAA Team Championship.
The rankings also clarify just how difficult a schedule the Irish face in the ’12 season as 16 of the possible 25 teams Notre Dame will face are within the rankings, including nine of which are top-20 teams. Additionally, four of those opponents – Duke (3), North Carolina (4), Baylor (6), Michigan (10) – rank within the top 10 in the country.
In the doubles rankings, senior duo Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) pace the Irish, entering as the fifth-best doubles tandem in the nation to begin the year. The pairing, which enters its second full season together as a team, put together an impressive fall slate as they went 8-3, including reaching the championship match of the ITA National Indoor Championship in November.
Joining Frilling and Mathews in the doubles rankings is the team of sophomore Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) and Katherine White (Columbus, Ga.), who begin the season ranked 25th. The underclassmen pairing pieced together a 7-3 fall campaign, including knocking off Kate Fuller and Lauren Herring of Georgia, who rank as the 60th-best doubles team in the rankings.
The Irish get their regular season underway in less than a month as they host a trio of matches at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on their opening weekend against Cincinnati (Jan. 21), Missouri (Jan. 22) and IPFW (Jan. 22).
For more information on everything Notre Dame tennis please visit facebook.com/NDWomensTennis and “Like” the official page of Irish women’s tennis. For Twitter updates on the team follow @NDSIDBrent.