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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer

ND Women's Tennis: ND defeats UNC, falls to Wake Forest on road

The No. 12 Irish headed to Tobacco Road this weekend for a pair of matchups with No. 5 North Carolina and Wake Forest, splitting the two with a 5-2 loss to the Tar Heels Saturday and a 6-1 victory over the Demon Deacons Sunday.

Saturday started rough for Notre Dame (3-2) as it dropped each of the three doubles matchups. The combinations of juniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews, freshman Jennifer Kellner and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan and senior Kristen Rafael and freshman Julie Sabacinski could not overcome North Carolina's dominant duos.

Rafael and Sabacinski were the first to finish at No. 3 doubles, going down 8-1 to Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker.

At No. 1 doubles, Frilling and Mathews lost 8-3 to the No. 8 duo of Shinann Featherstone and Lauren McHale to clinch the doubles point. Kellner and McGaffigan put up a tough fight but fell 8-7 to Jelena Durisic and Tessa Lyons.

On the singles side, the Irish made their ability to compete with the best players in the country known. Frilling, ranked ninth, continued her impressive start to the season as she defeated 13th-ranked De Bruycker 6-3, 6-2, at No. 1 singles. Mathews, 104th-ranked, claimed a victory in No. 2 spot as she knocked out 54th-ranked Featherstone, 6-3, 6-3, for her third straight win over a nationally-ranked opponent.

Rafael, McGaffigan, Kellner and Sabacinski fell at the remaining singles spots after three hard fought sets in each match.

But the Irish didn't let the lost match get them down.

"We were disappointed with the UNC result, but it was a hard fought match with four three-set matches," Mathews said.

"The energy and our level of competitiveness has been the best of the season. So we were happy with that, and we all keep improving with each match we play."

Sunday was a different story.

After Saturday's struggles, all three doubles pairings were able to bounce back and defeat their Demon Deacon counterparts.

Sabacinski and Rafael were victorious by a tally of 8-3 over

Wake Forest's Anna Mydlowska and Brigita Bercyte at No. 3 doubles to start off the day. McGaffigan and Kellner clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over Ryann Cutillo and Emilee Malvehy while Frilling and Mathews won 9-8 over 83rd-ranked tandem of Martina Pavelec and Kayla Duncan.

In singles, Sabacinski claimed her first career match-winning victory at No. 6 when she won 6-3, 6-2 over Bercyte. Frilling won at No. 1 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 over 62nd-ranked Pavelec.

Mathews defeated Duncan in straight sets at No. 2 at 6-2, 6-3. Neither Rafael at No. 3 nor Kellner at No. 5 dropped a set either and won 7-5, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-4, respectively. The lone loss on the day was by McGaffigan at No. 5 by a score of 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 to Cutillo.

"The Wake Forest match was a good win for us and we played better doubles but we still have room for improvement in all three flights of doubles," Mathews said. "We all have things we need to work on this week, especially as we look to this week and weekend with three tough matches."

The Irish return to the courts this week as they host Michigan Thursday, Vanderbilt Saturday and Wisconsin Sunday.