Stephen Havens and the Irish take on Northwestern this weekend.

Irish To Take On Midwest Rival Northwestern On Saturday

March 25, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team continues its nine-match road swing this weekend with a match against Midwest rival Nortwestern at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, March 27 in Evanston, Ill. It is the seventh match of Notre Dame’s current nine-match road swing.

Saturday’s match will take place at Northwestern’s Combe Indoor Tennis Center and it will feature live stats that can be accessed via Notre Dame’s schedule page. A complete recap of the contest will be posted on following the match.

Northwestern Series Breakdown
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 41-36-1 including a 16-4 mark under current head coach Bobby Bayliss. The Irish won the first ever meeting between the two teams, 4-3, on May 16, 1927 in Notre Dame, Ind. Notre Dame has also held a distinct advantage in recent years. The Irish are unbeaten in their last six matches versus the Wildcats and have won 10 of the last 11.

Last season, the teams clashed on Feb. 19 in Notre Dame, Ind. with the Irish carrying a four-match unbeaten streak into the contest and Norwestern standing at 8-0 entering the match. Though Notre Dame jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, Northwestern was able to tie the match at 3-3 before Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) came through with the match-clinching win at fifth singles.

Scouting The Wildcats
Northwestern enters Saturday’s match ranked 45th and carrying an 8-5 overall record. Most recently, the Wildcats downed the UCSB Gauchos, 4-3, on Wednesday, March 24. Before defeating UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, the Wildcats dropped matches against No. 12 Illinois (5-2) and No. 13 Louisville (5-2) on March 6 and 7 in Evanston, Ill.

Last Weekend
Notre Dame advanced to the semifinals of the 61st edition Blue Gray National Tennis Classic, which is held annually in Montgomery Ala. The Irish earned a first round win over Middle Tennessee State (5-2) and a dramatic come from behind quarterfinal win over 26th-ranked Fresno State (4-3). In the win over Fresno State, Notre Dame rallied from a 1-3 deficit behind singles wins from 86th-ranked Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) and Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School). In the semifinals, Notre Dame’s run came to an end with a 4-0 defeat to No. 16 Texas Tech, who went on to capture the 2010 Blue Gray Championship with a 4-3 win over Oklahoma.

While the win over Fresno State provided the drama, the victory over Middle Tennessee State provided the milestone as it marked the 700th career win by head coach Bobby Bayliss. His record now stands at 701-306-1 in 41 seasons as a head coach, including a 410-202 record in 22 and a half seasons at Notre Dame.

The most recent Campbell/ITA rankings were released on Tuesday, March 23 and the Irish moved up two places to 36th … Notre Dame’s win over Middle Tennessee State University (4-2) in the opening round of the 2010 Blue Gray tournament marked the 700th career win for head coach Bobby Bayliss (now 701-306-1/41 seasons) … Notre Dame has faced a ranked opponent in 12 of its 17 matches (the Campbell/ITA rankings slot the top-75 teams) … Sam Keeton is 10-0 in 2010 dual season singles play … nine of Notre Dame’s 17 matches have been decided by just one point … Notre Dame is 6-1 on the season when claiming the doubles point.