Jan. 9, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team has been slotted seventh in the preseason Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, which were released Monday. It’s the highest ranking since 1993 for the Irish, who placed as high as 10th on the ITA ladder midway through last season en route to a 17-7 record and trip to the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame has eight returning monogram winners and brings back virtually its entire starting lineup from a year ago. In addition, the Irish have complemented their veteran class with a crop of talented freshmen who are sure to provide solid support at all flights.
“With our enviable combination of tremendous depth, talent and experience, we fully expect to be a fixture in the top 10 this year,” says 15th-year Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “Our sights are set on an impressive showing in the NCAAs hosted by Texas A&M in May.”
The road to the 2002 NCAA Championship certainly will be a difficult one for Notre Dame. Of the 18 dual-match opponents the Irish will face this season, 17 of them have placed in the top 75 of the ITA preseason rankings. Highlighting Notre Dame’s schedule are three matches with Top 10 foes – at No. 10 Duke (Jan. 29), at sixth-ranked Illinois (March 7) and home against No. 9 SMU (April 6).
The Irish will kick off their 2002 campaign Saturday, Jan. 19, playing host to a pair of dual matches against ranked opponents. Notre Dame will open the season with a 9 a.m. (EST) match against No. 75 UC-Irvine, followed by a tussle with No. 64 Furman at 4 p.m. (EST). Both contests will take place at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.