Sept. 11, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Less than four months after reaching the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1994, the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will be back on the courts as it kicks off the 2002 fall season Friday morning at the William & Mary Country Inn Fall Tribe Classic in Williamsburg, Va.
The Irish return three starters and four monogram winners from the 2002 club that finished 23-7 and placed 14th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. Leading the way for Notre Dame will be junior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), who posted a 24-3 record in singles play last season and is 85th in this year’s fall ITA rankings.
“We have got to replace a great deal from last year’s team,” Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss said. “The fall will be a time of exploration, discovery and inventory. We will find out who will take the lead role for us and who the impact players will be. I don’t think I’ve ever come into a fall season with the lineup being as wide open as it will be this year.
“The key issue for us will be to find three solid doubles teams,” Bayliss continued. “We’re also going to be looking for seven or eight good singles players to fill our lineup.”
The Irish will participate in singles and doubles competition during the three-day event, although no team scores will be kept. Notre Dame opens the tournament at 8 a.m. (EDT) Friday, taking on NCAA qualifier Minnesota, one of just six teams to defeat the Irish a season ago (4-3 in Minneapolis), in singles action. Notre Dame then will face Virginia in singles at 11 a.m. before rounding out the day at 4 p.m. with doubles play against Minnesota.
Saturday’s action will feature three consecutive matches for Notre Dame. The Irish will begin by playing singles with William & Mary at 11:30 a.m., followed by a doubles matchup with the Tribe at 3:30 p.m. Notre Dame will complete the second day of competition with a 4:30 p.m. doubles contest against Virginia.
On Sunday, the Irish will square off with Minnesota in singles at 9 a.m., and will complete the tournament with doubles action against the Golden Gophers at 11:30 a.m.
“All three of our opponents are quality teams,” Bayliss said. “Minnesota was ranked in the top 10 much of last season and made the NCAAs, and they have the potential to be even better this year. William & Mary is a good team which played us very close last season (ND won 5-2). Virginia has one of the best incoming freshmen in the country and although they’ve been up and down, they have a chance to be an NCAA-level team, too. So we will have our work cut out for us this weekend.”
— ND —