April 27, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team begins postseason play Friday at 9:00 a.m. (ET) versus Georgetown at the Courtney South Tennis Courts. The Irish are serving as the co-hosts of the men’s and women’s 2011 BIG EAST tournaments in combination with the BIG EAST conference. Play will be held at the Courtney Tennis Center on the campus of Notre Dame, in addition to Leeper Park in South Bend. In the event of rain, play will be moved in to the Eck Tennis Pavilion and the South Bend Racquet Club. The Irish enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed.
This will be Notre Dame’s 15th BIG EAST men’s tennis championship. There are only nine of the 16 member teams that compete in the league tournament, as the BIG EAST does not require round-robin competition during the season. The nine teams selected are seeded by the conference based on national ranking and head-to-head results earn an invitational to the championship tournament. The tournament is single elimination and the winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The tournament commences with eighth-seeded Connecticut playing ninth-seeded Villanova at 9:00 a.m. Thursday at Leeper Park (South). The winner of that match will take on top-seeded Louisville Friday at 9:00 a.m. at the Courtney North tennis courts. The second-seeded Notre Dame will face seventh-seeded Georgetown for the third consecutive league tournament. The Irish and Hoyas will compete Friday at 9:00 a.m. at the Courtney South tennis courts. The semifinal matches will be played at the Courtney Tennis Center Saturday at 9:00 a.m., followed by the championship match Sunday at 9:00 a.m. also at the Courtney Tennis Center.
2011 BIG EAST Championship
Courtney Tennis Center – Notre Dame, Ind.
Leeper Park – South Bend, Ind.
Thursday, April 28
BIG EAST Quarterfinals, 9:00 a.m.
#8 Connecticut vs. #9 Villanova
Friday, April 29
BIG EAST Quarterfinals, 9:00 a.m. (ET) at Courtney South
#2 Notre Dame (15-10) vs. #7 Georgetown (7-12)
Saturday, April 30
BIG EAST Semifinals, 9:00 a.m. (ET) at Courtney Courts (North & South)
Sunday, May 1
BIG EAST Championship, 9:00 a.m. (ET) at Courtney North
Following The Irish At The Championship
There will be daily recaps posted to und.com, while complete results and updated matchups will be posted to www.bigeast.org, in addition to updated tournament draws.
The Irish and Hoyas have met nine times since their first meeting in 1958 when Notre Dame won in an 8-1 decision at the Cherry Blossom Tournament in Washington, D.C. The Irish hold an 8-1 lead in the series. Georgetown earned its sole win in 1962 with a 5-4 victory, also at the Cherry Blossom Tournament. The two teams have met at the BIG EAST quarterfinals the past two seasons with Notre Dame winning 4-0 on both occasions.
Scouting The Hoyas
Georgetown enters the tournament with a 7-12 record. The Hoyas began their season on a six-match losing streak, before defeating Bucknell (6-1) and Eckerd College (9-0). Georgetown most recently defeated Villanova 4-3 on April 20. The Hoyas are 0-1 against ranked opponents as they were defeated by No. 69 St. John’s on March 25 and have a 2-1 conference record, defeating Connecticut and Villanova and losing to St. John’s.
BIG EAST Championship History
The BIG EAST men’s tennis tournament began in 1979 with Boston College capturing the championship, followed by runner-up Georgetown, 16-14. From the inaugural year until 1994, the tournament was based on an individual scoring, where student-athletes earned points toward the overall team score.
Following the 1994 season, the tournament began the current scoring format, which the doubles counts as one decision and each singles position is a point. This is the second consecutive BIG EAST Championship that Notre Dame has played host to. Prior to being held at Notre Dame, the tournament has been contested in Tampa, Fla.
Irish Dominance In The BIG EAST
Since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96 season, the Irish have competed in the championship match of the league tournament every season except one and have claimed seven titles. There are nine member teams with men’s tennis: Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, St. John’s, USF and Villanova. Notre Dame has a 107-10 (.915) against those league opponents. Prior to joining the BIG EAST, the Irish claimed seven Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles from 1988-89 through 1994-95. Notre Dame has won 14 conference titles total.
2010 BIG EAST Championship Recap
The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team fell to 15th-ranked Louisville 4-0 inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. With the win, Louisville picked up its second BIG EAST crown, while the Irish move to 7-5 all-time in BIG EAST title matches. Notre Dame moved to 15-12 on the year while Louisville improved to 22-5.
Louisville jumped out to a 1-0 lead by virtue of winning a tightly contested doubles point. The Cardinals got on the board at No. 2 doubles where Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk downed Notre Dame’s tandem of Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) 8-5. After falling behind early, Davis and Fitzgerald tied their match at 4-4 but could not pull ahead as Childs and Maksimcuk took four of the next five games for the win.
Louisville clinched the doubles point at the No. 3 position where Robert Hall and Chidi Gabriel defeated David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) 8-4. Once the Cardinal duo established a 4-3 lead, they pushed ahead and for the win.
At No. 1 doubles, eighty-eighth ranked Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) were tied with 22nd-ranked Simon Childs and Alejandro Calligari, 8-8. Havens and Watt had been leading their match at 7-5 before Louisville made a comeback only to see the match go unfinished with the doubles point clinched.
Louisville continued to put the pressure on in singles play. At No. 5 singles, the Cardinals extended their lead to 2-0 when Andrew Carter downed Anderson in straight sets 6-3, 6-0. Moments later Louisville moved within one point of claiming the BIG EAST title as 18th-ranked A. Childs downed 47th-ranked Watt 6-0, 6-2.
Facing a 0-3 deficit, the Irish showed some fight as Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill), Havens, Stahl and Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) extended their matches. Ultimately, Louisville claimed the 2010 BIG EAST title when Hall beat Moros at No. 6 singles 6-3, 6-3. After helping the Cardinals clinch the doubles point and the championship, Hall was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer.
Last Time Out
The Irish concluded the regular season with a 4-3 loss to Louisville at the Bass Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville, Ky.
At second doubles, senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine Richland) dropped to Robert Hall and Alejandro Calligari in an 8-4 decision. Junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) were unable to handle Viktor Maksimcuk and Simon Childs and the Cardinals gained the doubles point after defeating the Irish duo 8-6.
Freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) and senior captain Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) rounded out the doubles play as the tandem fell to Austen Childs and Adam Donaldson, 8-6.
Moving into singles play, at the No. 1 position 58th-ranked Watt was defeated by No. 15 A. Childs in a two-set match, 6-3, 6-4, while Andrews defeated Hall, 6-2, 6-1 at fourth singles. Havens was downed at the No. 2 position, 6-2, 6-4 by 103rd-ranked Maksimcuk. The Cardinals clinched the match at third singles with senior No. 109 Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) dropping 6-3, 6-4 to S. Childs.
Rounding out the Irish lineup with two victories, sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest) downed Dante Terenzio, 7-6, 6-3 at sixth singles and junior Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) returned to the Irish with a win over Calligari, 7-6, 6-3.
Head Coach Bobby Bayliss On The BIG EAST Tournament
On preparing for the weekend …
“We have emphasized fundamentals this week. We need to be careful not to over train with the possibility of matches on three consecutive days. Getting Sam Keeton back last week has been a big boost for our collective confidence. We are tweaking the doubles and may do a few things a bit differently and are still looking at combinations. The BIG EAST requires an eight-man roster and we have been starting nine players most of the year between singles and doubles. It is possible that we could have a slightly different roster for this weekend and the NCAA Tournament in a few weeks. The biggest thing for us is to believe that we will win.”