Aug. 22, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A formidable spring schedule awaits the 2013 Notre Dame men’s tennis team, as the Irish are set to battle 12 ranked foes, including 10 teams that made the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Irish will also play host to the 2013 BIG EAST Championship in late April for the third time in the last four years.
“Obviously we have a big challenge in front of us with this tough schedule,” said veteran head coach Bobby Bayliss. “However, I firmly believe that the only way a team can become the best is if the play and beat the best. The guys are excited about the opportunity to play the quality of opponents we are playing. There are a significant number of potential top-10 teams that we will play, many at home. I think the fans will thoroughly enjoy coming out and seeing opponents the caliber of Duke, Michigan and USC in addition to our other home opponents.”
The squad will welcome 10 foes to the Eck Tennis Pavilion and the Courtney Tennis Center this season, including defending national champion USC Trojans, who will venture to the Eck on Wednesday, March 20. Other teams that ended the 2012 season ranked that will make the trek to Notre Dame include No. 42 Northwestern (Jan. 22), No. 8 Duke (Feb. 3), No. 21 Michigan (Feb. 16), No. 15 Illinois (March 5) and No. 51 and BIG EAST foe South Florida (April 6).
Ranked road contests include No. 53 Michigan State (Feb. 9), No. 7 Kentucky (Feb. 12), No. 4 Ohio State (Feb. 23) and No. 34 and BIG EAST rival Louisville (April 13).
The Irish will meet two more ranked foes in Norman, Okla., on Jan. 26 and 27. The Irish face off with No. 24 Harvard on Saturday, and then will either battle No. 10 Oklahoma or No. 35 Memphis.
Overall, the schedule features five NCAA Round of 16 teams, including Illinois (R16), Kentucky (R16), Duke (R8) and Ohio State (R8) in addition to the champion Trojans.
Notre Dame will also take part in the legendary Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., from March 15-17. The classic will match the Irish up against three opponents that will be announced at a later date.
The Irish open the year with BIG EAST opponent Marquette and Western Illinois in a Saturday, Jan. 19 doubleheader. The final non-conference home opponent is SMU (April 5), while the Irish will also travel to Wisconsin (March 3), William & Mary (March 23) and Ball State (April 1).
The BIG EAST Tournament will return to the Courtney Tennis Center for the third time and will be held from April 18-21.
Following the BIG EAST Tournament, the Irish will look to advance to their 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 23 years, with first and second rounds slated for May 10 and 12. The NCAA team and individual championships will be at the Khan Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill., from May 16-27.
Notre Dame will kick off the 2012-13 school year with six scheduled weekends of competition beginning with a flight to Dublin, Ireland and a meeting with members of Ireland’s Davis Cup Team on Aug. 31. The contest will take place the day before Notre Dame’s football team battles Navy on Sept. 1 in Dublin.
The Irish return to the U.S. and will compete at both the Illini and Western Michigan Invitationals from Sept. 14-16. The opening of October will see Notre Dame play host to the annual Tom Fallon Invitational from Oct. 5-7, while rising junior Greg Andrews could head to the ITA All-American Championships that same weekend.
This year’s USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Singles and Doubles Championships are in East Lansing, Mich., this year and are scheduled for Oct. 18-22.
Andrews also has a shot at participating in the ITA/USTA National Indoor Singles and Doubles Championships at Flushing Meadow, N.Y., from Nov. 8-11, while the rest of the team will head to Williamsburg, Va., for the William & Mary Invitational that same weekend.
The Irish are coming off a 21-9 2012 season, where they finished third in the BIG EAST, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and had three individuals qualify for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.