March 21, 2001

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame men’s tennis team, following its win at the Blue-Gray National Classic last week, have returned to the top 10 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings for the first time since 1993 — the last time the Irish claimed the Blue-Gray title. Notre Dame defeated Tulane, Rice, Auburn and Fresno State last week to move from No. 22 in the rankings to No. 10.

The Irish also improved to 13-2 on the season with the four wins for their best start since the 1992 NCAA finalist team also began the year 13-2. After beginning the season with a 3-2 record, Notre Dame has put together a 10-match winning streak — its longest since winning 14 straight in 1990.

Five of the 10 wins have been shutout victories with a total score of 50-9 in those 10 wins. Notre Dame boasts a 62-18 combined dual-match singles record, with at five players having at least nine dual-match singles victories in 15 matches. Sophomore Brian Farrell leads the team with a 12-2 singles record in dual matches, while freshman Matthew Scott is 10-1. The trio of juniors — No. 1 singles player Casey Smith, No. 2 Javier Taborga and No. 4 Aaron Talarico — each have won nine dual matches, while freshman Luis Haddock-Morales has won eight.

With the Irish women’s team ranked seventh for the third consecutive week, Notre Dame stands as one of four schools (joined by Duke, Georgia, Stanford) with both its men’s and women’s teams ranked among top 10 teams in the country. It also marks the first time both Irish programs have been in the top 10 at the same time.

After an 11-day break following the Blue-Gray National Classic championship, the 10th-ranked Irish return to the court when they play host to 18th-ranked Illinois in a 4:00 p.m. home match on March 29.