Feb. 5, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A busy weekend awaits the No. 36 University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team as the Irish (2-3) finish up a four-match road stint Friday and return to the Eck Tennis Pavilion for doubleheader action Sunday.
WHAT: Matches 6-8
WHO: No. 36 Notre Dame @ No. 12 Illinois | vs. No. 53 Indiana | vs. Ball State
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET, February 5, 2016 | Noon & 5:30 p.m. ET, February 7, 2016
WHERE: Atkins Tennis Center (Urbana, Ill.) | Eck Tennis Pavilion (Notre Dame, Ind.)
LIVE STATS: @ Illinois | |
LIVE STREAM: @ Illinois | vs. Indiana & Ball State
Below, find all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
It will be the second time this season the Irish face the Fighting Illini, having met in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off two weeks ago with Illinois taking a 4-0 victory. The Illini (4-1) fell five spots in this week’s Oracle/ITA Men’s Tennis Rankings after dropping to then-No. 10 North Carolina last Saturday at Chapel Hill. The Illini boast three ranking singles players: No. 21 Jared Hiltzik, No. T-41 Aron Hiltzik and No. 67 Julian Childers. Jared Hiltzik is 3-0 on the season, while Aron Hiltzik is 2-2 and Childers is 1-2 in dual matches. Aleks Vukic is 4-0 for the Illini and has played both at both the No. 1 and No. 2 slots.
The Hoosiers are 2-2 on the season, but have won two straight matches after dropping a pair against North Carolina and Drake during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Chapel Hill to open the year. Last Saturday, they scored 4-0 wins over VCU na Marquette in Bloomington, Indiana, and will host Ball State and Washington on Friday before heading north to take on the Irish. The Hoosiers are led by senior Sam Monette, who ranks 27th in the national singles poll and was named this week’s Big Ten Athlete of the Week. Monette is 4-0 in singles this season.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals boast a 2-1 record this season, with wins over Eastern Illinois and Detroit. Their loss came against common opponent Michigan State in a 4-3 decision last Saturday. Ball State will head to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers on Friday before facing the Irish on Sunday. Lucas Andersen and Marko Guzina are each 3-0 in singles this season, while Collin Rigney is also undefeated at 2-0 in dual matches.
Irish in the Series
Here’s how the all-time records against this weekend’s opponents shake out:
– ND v. Illinois – 24-25, 0-3 under head coach Ryan Sachire
– ND v. Indiana – 41-29, 0-0
– ND v. Ball State – 40-5, 2-0
The Irish moved down one spot this week to No. 36 in the Oracle/ITA Men’s Tennis Rankings. In singles, senior Quentin Monaghan enters the year ranked No. 36 in the singles poll, while Monaghan and classmate Alex Lawson come in as the No. 6 doubles team in the country after debuting at No. 28 in the fall.
Last Time Out
Notre Dame traveled to then No. 21 Northwestern last Friday, where the Irish fell to the Wildcats 6-1. Senior Eric Schnurrenberger provided the lone point for the Irish with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Fedor Baev at No. 4 singles.
ITA Rules Changes
This season, the NCAA with the support of the ITA, will utilize a no-ad scoring format for the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis championships. If a game reaches deuce, the next point will win the game. Additionally, eight-game pro-sets will no longer be utilized in doubles matches, with teams playing one set to six, with a tiebreak at six-all. At the individual doubles championships, matches will consist of the best-of-three sets, with a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. The rules changes are designed to improve the pace of play in championship matches.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.