Jan. 5, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Irish women’s tennis team opens the season as the fourth-ranked team in the nation according to the Campbell/ITA national poll, the league announced Tuesday.
The ranking matches the highest starting point ever for the squad, equaling the fourth-place ranking the team took into the opener of the 2006-07 campaign.
Notre Dame also opens its season with another first as five members of the ’10-11 squad begin the season ranked in the singles poll, the most to begin a season dating back to the 1981 season when the Campbell/ITA rankings began.
Junior Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) leads the quintet of Irish in the rankings, debuting at ninth. She earns the ranking on the heels of a 28-11 season last year that saw her go 21-7 on the dual campaign. She continued her top-tier play, going 8-2 during the tour season in the fall of ’10 that included posting a 5-2 mark against nationally-ranked foes.
The 2010 BIG EAST Player of the Year earned a berth to the ’10-11 USTA/ITA National Individual Indoor Championships after capturing the Midwest Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich., earlier in the fall. She also competed with the runner-up American team at the 2010 Master’U BNP Paribas, marking her second-straight year participating for the Americans in the event.
For McGaffigan, it marks her highest ranking in her brief time with the Irish, besting her 90th-place ranking on March 2, 2009. She put together a strong tour season, posting the most wins (10) of anyone on the roster.
Rafael returns to the rankings for the first time since ’08-09 when she placed 62nd in the polls. She enters the standings after putting together a 9-1 fall campaign that saw her post perfect records at both the Eck Tennis Classic and Illinois Blast.
Mathews ended her fall season with a 3-2 record that included two straight victories at the Illinois Blast, while Kellner debuted in style, going 6-0 and dropping only one set to begin her collegiate career.
The Irish get their dual season started when they take to the courts Jan. 22 for a showdown against #25 Illinois.