Senior Casey Watt leads the Irish back to Ohio State for the fourth time in the last five NCAA Championships.

Irish Heading Back To Columbus For Opening Rounds Of NCAA Tournament

May 1, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team has earned an at-large bid into the 64-team 2012 NCAA Championship field, it was announced by the NCAA men’s tennis selection committee Tuesday evening. It marks the fourth time in the last five years in which the Irish will head to Ohio State for the first two rounds of play.

On either May 11 or 12, at a time to be determined, the Irish will face Vanderbilt in Columbus, Ohio. Under the direction of head coach Bobby Bayliss, the Irish have earned a bid to the NCAA Championship in 21 of the last 22 draws, including a string of nine consecutive berths.

Ohio State is serving as the host school and will play East Tennessee State in the other first round match. The winners will then face each other the following day for the right to advance to the NCAA Championship Round of 16.

For the 13th consecutive year, the NCAA men’s tennis championship features a field of 64 teams, consisting of 31 automatic-qualifying conference champions and 33 at-large selections. The first and second rounds will take place on May 13-15 at 16 campus sites. The winner of the second-round matches at each site will advance to Athens, Ga., with Georgia University playing host to the final four rounds of the team tournament as well as the national championship draws for singles and doubles play from May 18-28.

Notre Dame has reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships on seven occasions, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 1992 and a 1993 quarterfinal result. The Irish lost in the opening round in 2004, ’05, ’08 and ’09, but reached the round of 16 in 2006 and ’07.

In last year’s tournament, a similar field travelled to Columbus. Notre Dame held on for a 4-3 victory over East Tennessee State in the opening round before falling to Ohio State 4-0 in the Round of 32. The Irish and Buckeyes met earlier this season with Ohio State holding on for a 5-2 victory in that matchup.

The draws for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be announced Wednesday. For more information on the NCAA Championship, continue to check back with