Julie Sabacinski posted her second straight dual victory with a straight-sets victory over Valentina Starkova of Arkansas at No. 6 singles, 6-4, 6-1.

No. 4 Irish Drop Heartbreaker To No. 23 Arkansas, 4-3

Jan. 30, 2011

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fourth-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped a hard-fought, 4-3 decision to 23rd-ranked Arkansas on Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The loss marks the first for the team during the 2010-11 dual campaign, dropping the team to 2-1 on the early season.

Notre Dame fell behind early after dropping the doubles point to the Razorbacks to get the match underway. Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) were unable to get it going in their doubles match at the No. 1 position, falling to the Arkansas pairing of Claudine Paulson and Anouk Tigu, 8-2.

Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) fell at No. 3 doubles to the team of Jade Frampton and Valentina Starkova, 9-8 (7-4), to secure the doubles point for the Razorbacks. The Irish pushed out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak, before Arkansas’ duo reeled off the final six points.

With the doubles point clinched, the match between Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) of Notre Dame and Kate Lukomskaya and Stephanie Roy of Arkansas was abandoned with the Irish leading 6-5.

Singles saw both teams go back and forth throughout the six matches. The first match to conclude saw Mathews take care of Lukomskaya at No. 2 singles, dropping only one game in a straight-sets victory, 6-1, 6-0.

Rafael then fell at No. 3 singles to Claudine Paulson in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0 to give the Razorbacks the lead back at 2-1. However, ninth-ranked Frilling quickly tied it up after taking care 26th-ranked Tigu at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-1. The Irish junior pulled away with ease after Tigu injured her ankle with Frilling leading the first set 5-3.

With the match all square, Notre Dame pulled ahead for the first time on the day when Sabacinski dispatched Starkova at No. 6 singles, 6-4, 6-1, for her second-consecutive dual match victory.

However, momentum was quickly lost as the Razorbacks closed out the final two matches at No. 4 and No. 5 singles to claim the match. McGaffigan fell to Emily Carbone at No. 4, 6-2, 6-4, while Kellner couldn’t hold on to her early lead over Roy at No. 5, falling in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

The Irish return to action next weekend as they take on North Carolina at noon on Saturday (Feb. 5) at the Cone-Kenfield Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. before battling Wake Forest at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday (Feb. 6) at Leighton Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Arkansas vs Notre DameJan 30, 2011 at Notre Dame, Ind.#23 Arkansas 4, #4 Notre Dame 3
Singles competition
1. #9 Kristy Frilling (ND) def. #26 Anouk Tigu (ARK) 6-3, 6-12. #104 Shannon Mathews (ND) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-1, 6-03. Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. #79 Kristen Rafael (ND) 6-3, 6-04. Emily Carbone (ARK) def. #78 Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) 6-2, 6-45. Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. #106 Jennifer Kellner (ND) 2-6, 6-1, 6-06. Julie Sabacinski (ND) def. Valentina Starkova (ARK) 6-4, 6-1
Doubles competition
1. Claudine Paulson/Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) 8-22. Jennifer Kellner/Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) vs. Kate Lukomskaya/Stephanie Roy (ARK) 6-5, unfinished3. Jade Frampton/Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Kristen Rafael/Julie Sabacinski (ND) 9-8 (7-4)
Match Notes:
Arkansas 4-0; National ranking #23Notre Dame 2-1; National ranking #4Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,3,1,6,4,5)