April 18, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 28 University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team welcomes eight other BIG EAST schools to campus this week and weekend for the 2013 BIG EAST Championship, which got underway Thursday morning at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The Irish (16-7) enter as the tournament’s top seed and see their first action Friday at 9 a.m. when they meet No. 9 seed St. John’s, who bested No. 8 seed Connecticut, 4-0, Thursday morning.
A win over the Red Storm would match them up against either No. 4 seed Marquette or No. 5 seed Georgetown at 9 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals. The finals are set for 9 a.m. Sunday. Making up the other side of the bracket are No. 2 Louisville (No. 50), No. 3 USF (No. 68), No. 6 Villanova and No. 7 DePaul.
Last year the top-seeded Irish were upset by No. 4 seed USF in Tampa, Fla., 4-3, as Notre Dame went on to claim third place in the championship with a 4-1 victory over St. John’s.
In 17 years in the BIG EAST, the Irish have earned seven titles and seven runner-up trophies, finished third and fourth once each and led in a rain-canceled final once. Notre Dame’s last title came in 2008. The Irish are the top seed for the 12th time since joining the league in 1996.
Notre Dame last played host to the BIG EAST Championship in 2011. The Irish lost to Louisville in the finals, 4-2.
Notre Dame is coming off an impressive 5-2 win over the then-No. 47 Cardinals last Saturday to clinch the top seed. For his efforts in helping secure the victory, No. 85 Greg Andrews earned his fifth BIG EAST Men’s Tennis Player of the Week scroll this season and second in a row. The Richland, Mich., native is the only other ranked singles player in the field behind Louisville’s Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, who is No. 65. In doubles, the lone ranked team is USF’s Oliver Pramming and Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz, who are No. 71.
To win a title this weekend, Notre Dame will look to the top of its singles lineup, which has helped carry the Irish to six straight wins. Andrews enters the tournament with a 15-7 record at one. Just behind Andrews is freshman Quentin Monaghan, who has put together a solid spring season and has a 15-4 record, including 10-3 at two. Senior Blas Moros is 12-6 playing primarily at three and junior Billy Pecor is 12-7 playing mainly at four. Rounding out the lineup is sophomore Wyatt McCoy, who is 10-6 playing primarily at five, and senior Michael Moore, who is 9-4 playing between five and six.
Admission to the BIG EAST Championship is free of charge. Fans can follow every match of the week through the live stats link found at BIGEASTTennis.com or on UND.com.
Notre Dame has owned the BIG EAST Men’s Tennis Player of the Week award this spring season, winning nine of the 13 awards the league office has announced … junior Greg Andrews has won five times, fellow junior Billy Pecor has won twice and senior Blas Moros and freshman Quentin Monaghan has won once each.
The victory over Louisville in the regular season finale gave the Irish seven wins over teams that are ranked in the April 16 ITA poll – No. 24 Michigan, No. 29 Illinois, No. 36 Memphis, No. 48 Michigan State, No. 51 Cornell and No. 75 Wisconsin.
All of Notre Dame’s seven losses this season are to teams ranked in the top 50 of this week’s ITA poll, including six teams in the top 25 … the losses were to No. 4 USC, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 10 Duke, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 22 Harvard, No. 34 Northwestern and No. 44 Boise State … four of the seven losses have come in 4-3 setbacks.
Notre Dame is 4-5 when losing the doubles point … three of the four wins have come over ranked foes – Michigan, Wisconsin and Cornell … the Irish are 12-2 when winning the doubles point … the two losses came at Kentucky and to Boise State at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic.