Niall Fitzgerald earned the second match-clinching win of his Irish career.

Men's Tennis To Close Out Regular Season With Two Road Matches

April 9, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Irish men’s tennis team will close out their regular season with two road matches versus BIG EAST rival Louisville and Ball State. Notre Dame plays Louisville on Saturday, April 11 at 1:00 p.m. Two days later, Notre Dame has a final tune-up before the BIG EAST tournament as it faces in-state rival Ball State on Monday, April 13 in Muncie, Ind. at 2:00 p.m.

Notre Dame, 20th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s latest rankings, is 11-9 on the season. Most recently the Irish knocked-off ninth-ranked Illinois, 4-3, on March 29. In that match, Notre Dame claimed the doubles point and also received singles wins from Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) to claim the win. With the match locked at 3-3, Anderson held serve to clinch the win for the Irish at fifth singles. The win marked Notre Dame’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent since April 1, 2007 when then fifth-ranked Notre Dame defeated eighth-ranked Illinois, 5-2, also at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. In addition, it was Notre Dame’s first win over a top-10 opponent while not being ranked in the top-20 since February 16, 1997 when 29th-ranked Notre Dame defeated eighth-ranked Duke, 4-3.

The Irish own and all-time record of 8-2 versus Louisville, including a 5-2 mark under head coach Bob Bayliss. The last time the teams met, the Irish pulled out a 4-3 win on April 13, 2008 in Notre Dame, Ind. This weekend’s matchup will mark the first time that the BIG EAST rivals will meet with both teams ranked in the ITA’s top-30, as Louisville enters the match ranked 26th.

The Cardinals carry a 17-6 record into this weekend’s showdown after beating South Florida on April 4 by a score of 4-1. Notre Dame also beat the Bulls of USF on March 28, 6-1. In other matches involving teams Notre Dame has faced, Louisville beat Wisconsin (4-3) and Texas A&M (6-1), while sustaining a loss to Tulsa (2-4). The Irish lost twice to Wisconsin (3-4, 3-4) and once to Tulsa (2-4), but were able to knock-off Texas A&M (4-3). Sophomore Austen Childs has led the Cardinals from first singles, posting a 14-4 mark at the position. Childs, currently ranked 41st, is the reigning BIG EAST men’s tennis Player of the Week.

Against Ball State, Notre Dame owns an all-time series record of 33-5, including a 17-2 mark under Bayliss. Dating back to 1989, the Irish have won 18-straight matches versus Ball Sate. Last season, Notre Dame beat the Cardinals in Notre Dame, Ind. by a 7-0 margin.

Before taking on Notre Dame, Ball State plays host to Western Michigan on Saturday, April 11. Entering the weekend, Ball State is 12-13 on the season including a 9-3 mark in home matches. Jose Perdomo has led the Cardinals from first singles, posting a 9-15 dual season singles record.

Recaps and box scores of both matches will be posted on und.com.

–ND–