Notre Dame, IN– Notre Dame men’s tennis host three different teams this weekend for three matchups. The Irish take on No. 2 Ohio State at 12 p.m. and St. Bonaventure at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday before challenging No. 4 Michigan on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish have had difficulty claiming hard-fought battles against very tough teams so far this season but are aiming to change things up this weekend.
ACC Player of the Week and No. 98 in singles, Tristan McCormick, reflects on the past few nail-biting battles that the Irish have endured.
"We’ve struggled to pull through in a few of our close matches recently, but this has made us hungrier for a big win," stated McCormick. "This week presents an incredible opportunity for us with two of our biggest rivals coming into our house, both of them ranked top 5 in the country. If we compete as a unit at all nine spots, I’m confident we will defend our home court.”
Assistant Coach Greg Andrews comments on the level of difficulty the Irish are going to encounter with competing against two highly ranked teams but is optimistic about Notre Dame’s capabilities this weekend.
"We have an incredible opportunity this weekend to be hosting two top-5 programs in the Eck. We have been improving with every match, and have had a great week of preparation in practice," said Coach Andrews. "The key this weekend will be how we compete deep in matches. We know that these elite programs will bring a high-level and each spot will come down to the wire. If we are able to maintain our composure and execute, we have a great chance of being successful."
In total, the Irish have met the Buckeyes 61 times over the programs history with the Irish securing 26 of those matches. Since joining the ACC, the Irish have been unable to claim a match over Ohio State in the past five matchups. Last year, Notre Dame lost on the road 1-6 with William Howells claiming the only point for the Irish after rallying for the tiebreaker in the second set. So far this season the Buckeyes are 13-1 overall with a loss to ACC foe, No. 5 North Carolina.
Notre Dame has only encountered the St. Bonaventure Bonnies once before, securing the W prior to Ryan Sachire becoming the Irish head coach. The Bonnies are currently 1-8 so far this season, only earning one win over Loyola in its first match of its 2020 campaign.
Sunday’s match marks Notre Dame’s 80th meetup with rival Michigan. Notre Dame’s overall record against the Wolverines is 32-47 but hope to tack on another win this weekend. Michigan has only lost twice this season, dropping to No. 23 ACC rival NC State at home and to No. 1 Southern Cal during the semifinals of the ITA National Indoors. Last year, the Irish fell to Michigan in a back and forth battle. After the Irish secured the doubles point, Tristan McCormick tallied the first singles point and Matt Gamble followed suit with a win in three sets.
No. 2 Ohio State
Ohio State currently has four singles players ranked and one doubles pair ranked. Two of the singles players are ranked in the top-20 of the nation. John McNally comes in at No. 7 after defeating eight nationally ranked opponents and is 18-4 on the year. Cannon Kingsley is next in the rankings for the Buckeyes as he claims the No. 12 spot and is 17-2 on the year. No. 33 Kyle Seelig and No. 70 James Trotter are the final two singles players who are ranked according to this week’s Oracle ITA rankings. The one ranked doubles team is comprised of Robert Cash and John McNally as they sit at No. 3.
The Bonnies are not nationally ranked and do not have any singles or doubles players ranked as well.
No. 4 Michigan
Similarly to Ohio State, Michigan has four singles players ranked and one doubles duo ranked. Andrew Fenty sits at No. 17 after an undefeated weekend in singles at the ITA National Indoors. Next up is Ondrej Styler at No. 32 with an 8-3 singles record on the season. Connor Johnston comes in at No. 87, going only 6-4 so far this season. The final ranked singles player for the Wolverines is No. 112 Mattais Siimar. Siimar is currently on a three-game losing streak with an overall 7-3 singles record in 2020. The sole ranked doubles pair for the Wolverines, Andrew Fenty and Mattais Siimar, clinched the No. 2 spot in the most recent ranking’s release. The pair collected a win against Texas A&M at the ITA Indoor’s for the duo’s 13th consecutive victory.