May 1, 2007
The fifth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (24-3) was tabbed the No. 5 overall seed and will play host to first- and second-round action in the 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship, it was announced Tuesday afternoon. Action will begin next Friday, May 11, at the Courtney Tennis Center, with the Irish and Butler (14-9) playing at 11:00 a.m. (ET) in first-round action, before Wisconsin (15-10) and Washington (16-6) meet at 2:00 p.m. The winners will meet in the second round on Saturday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m.
Notre Dame, BIG EAST Conference champions, gained an automatic bid to participate in this year’s NCAA Championship. The Irish have now qualified for the NCAA Division I Championship 16 times in the last 17 seasons. The Bulldogs gained automatic entrance due to their Horizon League Championship, while the Badgers and Huskies garnered two of the 33 at-large bids.
The winner of the second-round match will advance to Athens, Ga., which will play host to the final four rounds of the tournament at the Dan Magill Tennis Center from May 17-22. The team emerging from South Bend will face the team from the Los Angeles sub regional that features No. 12 seed USC, as well as UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine and Penn State.
Butler, unranked in the most recent ITA poll, not only captured the conference tournament, but also went through the entire conference regular season undefeated. The Bulldogs had little trouble with Illinois-Chicago in the title match, coming away with a 4-0 victory. Butler has captured six consecutive Horizon League Tournaments and enters NCAA Tournament play riding an eight-match winning streak. No. 38 Wisconsin appears in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. The Badgers, which reached the Big Ten semifinals before losing to No. 2 Ohio State, are one of six Big Ten teams to reach the postseason. No. 32 Washington finished third in the difficult Pac-10, finishing behind champion UCLA and runner-up USC.
Notre Dame faced both Wisconsin and the Huskies earlier this season. The Irish upended the Badgers, 5-2, back on Feb. 11 and cruised past Washington on March 5. Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Butler, 9-1, and the two foes have not met since the spring of 1987.
The Irish have been invited to 16 of the last 17 NCAA Tournaments, making them one of just 12 schools to have accomplished that feat, along with Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA, and USC. Bayliss is one of only three Division I coaches – along with Georgia’s Manuel Diaz and Duke’s Jay Lapidus – to have led his current team to at least 16 NCAA bids in the last 17 years. Notre Dame has reached the round of 16 in the NCAAs on six occasions, highlighted by a 1993 quarterfinal result and a runner-up finish in `92. The Irish lost in the opening round in both 2004 and ’05, but reached the round of 16 last season.
The Courtney Tennis Center will play host to NCAA men’s tournament action for the eighth time in school history and first time since 2002. Notre Dame holds a 5-4 home record in NCAA play. Overall, it will be the 12th time the facility has played host to NCAA Championship competition, including having been the men’s national site in both 1971 and ’94.
Of Notre Dame’s 27 matches this spring, over half of them (14) earned berths in the NCAA Championship: Auburn, Florida State (No. 16 seed), Virginia (No. 4 seed), Washington, Wisconsin, Pepperdine, Texas A&M-CC, Texas (No. 11 seed), Alabama, Duke (No. 14 seed), Michigan, Illinois (No. 10 seed), Tulsa and Ohio State (No. 2 seed). The Irish went 11-3 against those teams.
For the eighth consecutive year, the NCAA Championship features a field of 64 teams, consisting of 31 automatic-qualifying conference champions and 33 at-large selections. The first and second rounds will take place May 11-13 at 16 campus sites.
The draws for the NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships will be released Wednesday on www.ncaasports.com. They will take place May 23-28 at Georgia, with 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams competing. Since 1989, Notre Dame competitors have garnered 22 invitations to the national singles tournament and 12 to the doubles event.
For ticket information, please consult und.com or call 574-631-7356.
— ND —