Jan. 29, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis squad will return to the court Friday for the third in a stretch of four straight road matches when the No. 35 Irish head to Evanston, Illinois to face No. 21 Northwestern.
WHAT: Match 5
WHO: No. 35 Notre Dame vs. No. 21 Northwestern
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET, January 29, 2016
WHERE: Combe Tennis Center | Evanston, Ill.
LIVE: Scoring | Video ($)
Below, find all you need to know ahead of Friday’s match against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats enter Friday’s contest at 3-1 on the season and are coming off a runner-up showing at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend last Friday and Saturday in Urbana, Illinois. The Wildcats already have a pair of ranked wins, having defeated No. 36 Louisville 4-0 to start the season on January 17, and No. 24 Tulsa 4-1 during the ITA Kick-Off opening round. Northwestern fell to No. 7 Illinois 4-0 in the ITA Kick-Off championship match. The Wildcats boast three ranked singles players in No. 16 Konrad Zieba, No. 50 Sam Shropshire and No. 55 Strong Kirchheimer, and a ranked doubles squad in No. 52 Kirchheimer and Fedor Baev.
Irish in the Series
The Irish are 45-37-1 all-time against the Wildcats and 1-0 during the Ryan Sachire era. Notre Dame defeated Northwestern 4-3 last season at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, clinched at 4-2 by Quentin Monaghan with a three-set win over Shropshire at the No. 1 slot. Northwestern last defeated Notre Dame in 2013 in Evanston.
The Irish moved up one spot this week to No. 35 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 dropped a pair of matches last weekend against a pair of highly talented opponents, falling to No. 7 Illinois 0-4 and No. 24 Tulsa 3-4 at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Urbana. The Irish battled the Golden Hurricane down to the final match in Saturday’s consolation, but dropped four of six singles matches after clinching the doubles point.
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.