May 3, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 20th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team has been tabbed to head to Evanston, Ill. for first and second round matches in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the NCAA selection committee announced Tuesday.
The Irish join Fresno State and IPFW in travelling to Northwestern, where the 16th-seeded Wildcats will serve as host. First round matches will take place on May 13 with the two winners meeting in the second round the following day (May 14). The Irish will square off with Fresno State in the opener, while Northwestern and IPFW will collide in the other matchup.
Notre Dame makes its 16th consecutive and 18th overall appearance in the NCAA Championship. The Irish earned the BIG EAST Conference’s automatic bid after winning their fourth straight league title on May 1.
Notre Dame has reached the NCAA Round of 16 on 10 occasions and advanced to the quarterfinals or further in 1996, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Last season, the Irish reached the semifinals, marking the second consecutive year that the team has reached that point, the only two times in program history.
The Irish enter the tournament ranked 20th in the country according to the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) polls after putting together a 16-9 record, including winning their last five matches.
The matchup with Fresno State will mark the first time the two schools have met. The 72nd-ranked Bulldogs enter the tournament with a record of 11-13, but bring a string of recent strong play with them after winning five of their last six matches including winning the WAC Championship.
Notre Dame and IPFW have met six times in program history with the Irish holding a 5-0-1 advantage. The two teams met in the opening round of last year’s NCAA Tournament with the Irish claiming a 4-0 decision. IPFW earned the Summit League’s automatic bid after claiming the tournament title.
Notre Dame and Northwestern have met 36 times with the Wildcats leading the series, 25-11. The two teams squared off once earlier this season, with Northwestern coming back from a 3-0 deficit to claim a 4-3 victory on April 7. The two squads also have played three times in the NCAA Tournament with the Irish claiming one of those three meetings. In their most recent postseason tussle, Northwestern prevailed 4-0 in ’05.
The NCAA 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 May 13-14 at 16 campus sites. The later rounds of the single-elimination tournament will be held in Palo Alto, Calif., May 20-30.
The draws for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be announced Wednesday.