Sept. 7, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Matches against 15 teams that ended the 2011 season ranked, and 14 home matches highlight the 2012 men’s tennis schedule released recently by head coach Bobby Bayliss.
The Irish, who finished the season ranked 31st by the International Tennis Association (ITA) in 2011, play national powers Ohio State (No. 3, March 3) and Kentucky (No. 8, Feb. 12) at home, while hitting the road to meet Texas A&M (No. 10, April 9), Duke (No. 12, Feb. 5), Illinois (No. 17, Jan. 22) and North Carolina (No. 18, Feb. 3).
Notre Dame will also play host to BIG EAST Champion Louisville (No. 24, April 14) to end the regular season and welcome other nationally ranked squads in Maryland (No. 39, March 4), Michigan State (No. 53, Feb. 26), DePaul (No. 67, April 4) and Wisconsin (No. 71, Feb. 10).
Other road contests against nationally ranked foes include Indiana (No. 30, Jan. 28), Michigan (No. 34, Feb. 18) and South Florida (No. 46, March 17). The Irish will also play either Ohio State or Cornell (No. 43) on Jan. 29 depending on who wins a Jan. 28 match up between the Buckeyes and the Big Red.
“We like to play one of the toughest schedules in the country every year,” said head coach Bobby Bayliss. “Our goal is to be prepared for the BIG EAST and NCAA Tournaments, and we think a schedule with this number of quality teams does just that.”
The Irish play in six fall tournaments to open the year. Notre Dame opens the 2011 fall schedule at the Illini Invitational from Sept. 16-18. The next week, (Sept. 22-25) the Irish head to St. Helens, Calif., to compete in the Napa Valley USTA/ITA Invitational against some of the nation’s elite. No. 4 Tennessee, No. 11 UCLA, No. 14 California, No. 26 Tulsa and No. 38 Vanderbilt will all be competing against the Irish in the three-day tournament. At the same time as that tournament, Notre Dame will host the Tom Fallon Invitational at Courtney Courts from Sept. 23-25.
The ITA All-American Championships will be from Oct. 6-9 in Tulsa, Okla., while the Midwest Singles and Doubles Championships will be in Columbus, Ohio, in Oct. 13-17. The Irish close out the fall season at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis from Nov. 3-6.
The spring season kicks off with three straight home matches against Illinois State and Toledo on Jan. 15 and William & Mary on Jan. 20. Six straight road matches follow the home stand, as the Irish battles Illinois (Jan. 22), Indiana (Jan. 28), Ohio State or Cornell (Jan. 29), North Carolina (Feb. 3), Duke (Feb. 5) and Northwestern (Feb. 7).
Three more home matches against Wisconsin (Feb. 10), Kentucky (Feb. 12) and IUPUI (Feb. 12) lead the Irish up to the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 17-20.
A road match at Michigan (Feb. 18) comes before four straight home matches against Michigan State (Feb. 26), Marquette (Feb. 26), Ohio State (March 3) and Maryland (March 4).
A road trip to Florida will see the Irish meet the USTA National Junior Team on March 13, before squaring off with South Florida on March 17.
Notre Dame will play host to both Ball State and St. Bonaventure on March 31, before welcoming DePaul to Courtney Courts on April 4.
The final road trip of the regular season will be to Texas, as the Irish meet SMU in Dallas on April 7 and Texas A&M in College Station on April 9.
The rematch of the 2011 BIG EAST Championship match between Louisville and Notre Dame will take place on April 14 in South Bend.
THE BIG EAST Championships are slated for April 21-22 in Tampa, Fla., with the NCAA 1st and 2nd Rounds scheduled for May 11-12 and will be played at host sites.
The NCAA Round of 16 and Individual Championships will take place on May 17-28 in Athens, Ga.
Notre Dame returns 11 players from an 18-12 season that saw the Irish finish second at the BIG EAST Tournament and advance to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.–ND–