Sept. 21, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame has announced its 2010-11 women’s tennis schedule. The docket will get underway with the squad playing host to the Eck Classic from Oct. 1-3 at the Eck Tennis Center, which marks the first time since the 2004-05 season that the Irish will play host to the event. The field is comprised of six teams – Ohio State, Kansas, Miami (Ohio), Dayton, Akron and Notre Dame – and looks to serve as an experience-building tournament for a relatively young Irish roster.
“We are excited to have our new group of freshmen as well as the rest of the team open the season at home,” Irish head coach Jay Louderback said, who is entering his 22nd season at the helm of the program. “We took a break from hosting a fall tournament, but felt like with such a big group of freshmen it would be good to play a tournament here.”
Irish juniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews then head off to compete at the All American, hosted by Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., from Oct. 7-10. Frilling is competing in the main singles and doubles with Mathews, who is taking part in the singles qualifying rounds – also at the Riviera Country Club.
The Irish then head to the Midwest Regional (Oct. 22-26) hosted by the University of Michigan in hopes of earning National Individual Indoor Championships berths. Both the singles and doubles tournament winners will advance automatically to the finals with at-large bids to be determined. The National Individual Indoor Championships get underway from Nov. 4-7 at the U.S. Open Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
The Irish also will be participating in the Illinois Blast while the National Individual Indoor is taking place, with the remainder of the Irish roster heading to Champaign, Ill. to take part in the three-day tournament running from Nov. 5-7.
Notre Dame concludes its fall slate at the Sarasota Clay Courts Nov. 12-14. The three-day event will be hosted by Lakewood Ranch and gives the Irish a rare chance to experience tennis on a clay court surface as opposed to the typical hard court.
January will ring in the beginning of dual season action, with the Irish scheduled to play in 19 matches running through April, including contests with five of the top ten teams in the final ITA rankings at last season’s end. The Irish also will be facing two of last season’s top-five ranked teams in No. 3 North Carolina and No. 4 Baylor.
All told, 18 of the 19 opponents on the Irish schedule this year were ranked on the final ITA rankings in the top 75.
“I like for our team to play a tough, competitive schedule every year to prepare us for the NCAA tournament,” said Louderback. “This year’s schedule is no exception.”
Sandwiched among the dual season, the Irish head to the National Team Indoor from Feb. 18-21 before the team heads out to the Blue-Gray Tournament taking place Feb. 25-27 in Mobile, Ala.
The Irish close out the month of April with the BIG EAST Championships, which they will be hosting for the second consecutive year, Apr. 28-May 1. The team has captured the last three BIG EAST titles, including last season’s performance in which the team did not drop a single match point in three contests.
NCAA Tournament action gets underway with the first and second rounds taking place at regional sites from May 13-15, with the Irish hoping to make it three straight years hosting one of the regional draws.
The NCAA Championships take place from May 20-30 with Stanford serving as host in Palo Alto, Calif. Team action will begin the slate with the individual singles and doubles draws taking place soon after. Notre Dame earned semifinal berths each of the last two years in team play, losing a pair of 4-2 decisions to California in 2009 and Stanford in 2010, with the Cardinal going on to win the overall team title.