PALO ALTO, Calif. - Three of the five BIG EAST singles players in the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships at Stanford advance to the second round of tournament play, representing three different conference schools. Louisville senior Austen Childs, Notre Dame junior Shannon Mathews and USF senior Irene Rehberger all won their first round matches Wednesday, May 25, while Notre Dame juniors Kristy Frilling and Casey Watt exited the tournament.
Ranked No. 16 in the ITA singles rankings, Childs defeated Georgia's 18th-ranked Will Spencer 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. The three-time BIG EAST Player of the Year rebounded after falling 3-6 in the first set to win his 13th-straight match. He improved his overall record to 32-10 this season. In second round action, UofL's Childs faces Kentucky's Alex Musialek Thursday. The BIG EAST automatic qualifier was selected as one of the top 16 seeded players, becoming the first Louisville player to qualify for the four-straight NCAA Singles Championships. Childs was the national runner-up in the 2010 tournament. Childs pairs with Cardinal senior Viktor Maksimcuk for the NCAA Doubles Championship Thursday as well.
Notre Dame's 63rd-ranked Watt dropped his first round match to Pepperdine's No. 43 Finn Tearney in three sets with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 decision. This was Watt's second-straight trip to the NCAA singles championship with both appearances ending in the first round. He concludes the season with a 12-16 dual match record, going 11-15 at No. 1 singles and posting a 1-1 mark in the No. 2 slot.
On the women's side, ND's Mathews, ranked 56th by the ITA, dropped the opening set 6-2 against UCLA's No. 57 McCall Jones. The Irish junior battled back with a 6-1 win in the second set. After a rain delay put the third and final set on hold for a short time, the two returned to the court as Mathews claimed the third set 7-5. She advances to face Washington's Venise Chan Thursday.
Mathews teammate Frilling, the tournament's No. 5 seed and the No. 5 ITA singles player, dropped a 6-4, 1-6, 6-0 decision to Penn's 29th-ranked Connie Hsu. Frilling was an automatic qualifier. This marked her third-straight trip to the NCAAs. She has advanced to the second round in her two previous appearances. Frilling and Mathews also begin their double draw Thursday.
USF's No. 35 Rehberger moved on the second round of the NCAAs, posting a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Alabama's No. 37 Mary Anne Macfarlane. Rehberger squares off with Northwestern's No. 10 Maria Mosolova Thursday, vying for a spot in the round of 16. This marks the second consecutive season the Bulls' senior reached the round of 32.
There are 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams completing for the men's and women's titles. All matches shall be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and 12-point tiebreaker at six games all will be used for all matches.