April 26, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame women's tennis senior Shannon Mathews has been tabbed BIG EAST Player of the Year, it was announced by the conference office Thursday. Irish head coach Jay Louderback also was chosen the BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
Mathews earned the honor after concluding the season with a 20-9 singles record and a 28-9 doubles mark. She wrapped up the dual season with records of 17-7 in singles and 20-6 in doubles while spending the majority of the season at the No. 1 court in both and finished the season with five wins against nationally-ranked opposition, including knocking off Texas A&M's then seventh-ranked and previously undefeated Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar.
Mathews, a four-time selection to the All-BIG EAST Team and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player, currently ranks 32nd in the nation in singles while checking in at eighth in doubles. She is the fourth consecutive Irish player to receive BIG EAST Player of the Year honors, following two-time winner Kristy Frilling ('10 & '11) and current Notre Dame assistant coach Kelcy Tefft ('09).
Louderback, meanwhile, earned coach-of-the-year honors for the third consecutive season and 10th time overall after guiding the Irish to a 20-7 record and a ranking of 18th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll. The Irish skipper also guided Notre Dame to its fifth consecutive conference crown and 12th overall, claiming an automatic berth in the NCAA Team Tournament, the 19th appearance for Notre Dame during his 23-year tenure as head coach.
In addition to the top honors, three Irish players also were chosen to the All-BIG EAST Team, the most of any conference school. Mathews headlines the group, along with Frilling and sophomore Britney Sanders. Frilling finished her dual season with a record of 18-9, while Sanders led the team in wins on the season after going 21-4 in dual matches.
It is the fourth straight year - since the conference switched over to a 12-member all-conference team following the '09 season - in which the Irish have placed at least three players on the squad.
BIG EAST Player of the Year Shannon Mathews, Sr., Notre Dame