May 5, 1999
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The 30th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to take on 19th-ranked Harvard at 2:00 p.m. on Sat., May 15, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship. Host and 66th-ranked Indiana State will play 15th-seed and 10th-ranked Baylor in the other first-round site at 10:00 a.m. First-round winners will play a second-round match on Sun., May 16, at 10:00 a.m. with the winner advancing to the round of 16 at the University of Georgia.
Notre Dame and Harvard each earned automatic bids into the tournament as the Irish won the BIG EAST title, and the Crimson won the Ivy League crown. Notre Dame has beaten Harvard once in the four previous meetings with the lone Irish win coming in 1998 at the Blue-Gray National Classic. The match likely will feature Harvard’s top-ranked sophomore James Blake against Notre Dame’s third-ranked junior Ryan Sachire at No. 1 singles in a rematch of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships. Blake beat Sachire in the final of the second leg of the ITA collegiate grand slam 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to win the first of his two grand slam wins this season.
Baylor beat Notre Dame 5-4 in the only meeting between the two teams in 1985. The Irish beat the Bears 4-3 in the fall of 1998 in an exhibition match at Notre Dame. The Irish lead the all-time series with Indiana State 17-2 but have not played since 1989.
The Irish are making their ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA team championships. Notre Dame has an 8-8 in its previous eight appearances in the 1990s. The Irish lost their first match to Minnesota in each of the last three years during the regional format. Notre Dame lost to eventual national finalist Mississippi in the 1995 regional final. Notre Dame played host to the ’94 regional and national championships and beat Michigan and Minnesota in the regional before dropping a 4-3 match to Georgia in their first match at the national site. The ’93 Irish beat Mississippi State 5-3 in 1993 before falling 5-0 to USC in the quarterfinals. Notre Dame became the only northern school to reach the team championship match in 1992 when it beat Mississippi State 5-3, host Georgia 5-4 and top-ranked USC 5-1 before falling 5-0 to Stanford in the championship match. In their first appearance in the NCAA team format which was instituted in 1978, the Irish beat Kansas 5-2 before falling 5-0 to USC.