Feb. 24, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 19th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team returns to the courts this Friday at the Blue Gray Classic at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center in Montgomery, Ala., marking the first time the tournament has played host to a women’s draw.
The tournament, which is one of the longest running collegiate tournaments (started in 1949), will welcome a change for the first time in its history. The draw, which has been set up as a 16-team men’s field playing over four days in year’s past will now feature an eight-team women’s and eight-team men’s draw over a three day span.
The Irish women enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the women’s draw and will square off against Utah in their opening match. The remaining six teams in the draw see Virginia as the No. 1 overall seed with Oklahoma and Ohio State seeded third and fourth, respectively. DePaul, Auburn and Alabama round out the tournament field.
Juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) lead the Irish charge, with Frilling entering as the third-ranked singles player and Mathews checking in at 43rd. The pairing also ranks as the 57th-best doubles team. Freshman Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) enters at 102nd.
Earlier this season, the Utes travelled to Notre Dame to compete in the ITA Team Indoor Qualifying, but the two squads did not square off during the two-day tournament. Overall, Utah holds a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head matchups but the Irish captured the most recent contest, winning 7-0 back in ’09.
Utah enters the match ranked 51st with a record of 4-5 overall. The team had been on a four-match winning streak before dropping a pair of matches to Arizona (6-1) and Rice (5-2) this past weekend. Evgenia Kryuchkova, ranked 59th, leads the Utes singles attack with Anastasia Putilina, ranked 114th, following close behind.
Also be sure to check back with und.com for a complete recap of the Irish after each day of competition from the 2011 Blue Gray Classic.