Shannon Mathews, along with teammate Jennifer Kellner, earned a hard-fought 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles for the Irish.

No. 17 Irish Stymied By No. 4 Duke, 7-0

March 18, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. – The 17th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped its second straight match of the spring break trip, falling to No. 4 Duke, 7-0, on Thursday at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. The Irish, now in the midst of a three-match losing streak, hold a record of 8-7 on the year.

The Irish threw out a bit of a different lineup against Duke in both singles and doubles. At No. 2 doubles, the Irish duo of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.), teaming up for the first time on the dual season, got the lone win in doubles play for the Irish, holding off Nadine Fahoum and Hanna Mar, 8-5.

The Blue Devils, however, won the remaining two matches to capture the doubles point. At No. 1 doubles, Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) fell to Ellah Nze and Rachel Kahan, 8-1, and at No. 3 doubles Nancy Joyce (Akron, Ohio) and JoHanna Manningham (Mishawaka, Ind.) dropped an 8-2 match to the 64th-ranked duo Mary Clayton and Monica Gorny.

In singles action, Rafael made her second consecutive appearance at No. 2, losing a 7-5, 6-2 match to #72 Nze. Kellner, playing at No. 3 singles, lost her first match in her last 10 as 10th-ranked Reka Zsilinska defeated her 6-1, 6-1.

Manningham and Joyce also surrendered straight-set decisions, losing to #64 Kahan (6-1, 6-1) and #58 Clayton (6-0, 6-0) at No. 5 and 6 singles, respectively.

The Irish did extend two matches to three sets, coming up just short in both. At No. 1 singles, Mathews battled #50 Fahoum but eventually succumbed to her opponent, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8). In much the same fashion, McGaffigan forced #54 Elizabeth Plotkin to a decisive third set, but fell 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-8).

With spring break coming to a close, the Irish now prepare for one final match as they take on #18 Tennessee at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on Saturday at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.

Be sure to check back with for a complete recap as the Irish look to end the trip on a high note against the Volunteers.

Duke 7, Notre Dame 0March 17, 2011USF Varsity Courts
Singles1. #50 Nadine Fahoum (Duke) def. #38 Shannon Mathews (ND), 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8)2. #72 Ellah Nze (Duke) def. Kristen Rafael (ND), 7-5, 6-23. #10 Reka Zsilinska (Duke) def. #107 Jennifer Kellner (ND), 6-1, 6-14. #54 Liz Plotkin (Duke) def. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND), 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-8)5. #64 Rachel Kahan (Duke) def. JoHanna Manningham (ND), 6-1, 6-16. #58 Mary Clayton (Duke) def. Nancy Joyce (ND), 6-0, 6-0
Doubles1. Ellah Nze/Rachel Kahan (Duke) def. Chrissie McGaffigan/Kristen Rafael (ND), 8-12. Jennifer Kellner/Shannon Mathews (ND) def. Nadine Fahoum/Hanna Mar (Duke), 8-53. #64 Mary Clayton/Monica Gorny (Duke) def. Nancy Joyce/JoHanna Manningham (ND), 8-2