Stephen Bass.

No. 5 Men's Tennis Opens Tough Week With Michigan State Wednesday; Irish also travel to No. 3 Ohio State Friday before hosting No. 8 Illinois Sunday

March 27, 2007

The No. 5 Notre Dame men’s tennis team continues its Big Ten portion of the schedule this week with road matches at Michigan State on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. and No. 3 Ohio State on Friday at 2:00 p.m. before returning home to face No. 8 Illinois on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

The Irish (16-2) remained steady at No. 5 in this week’s ITA poll. Georgia is the top-ranked team for the 10th consecutive week. Virginia is No. 2 followed by Ohio State, Baylor and the Irish. The rest of the top 10 includes North Carolina, Wake Forest, Illinois, USC and Mississippi.

Notre Dame enters this week’s matches riding a 10-match winning streak – the program’s longest winning streak since the 1989-90 squad ripped off 15 consecutive matches. The school-record winning streak is 29 matches set over the course of three seasons (1965-67). The longest single-season winning streak is 20 matches during the 1971 season.

The Spartans are 9-10 overall and 0-4 in Big Ten action. Last week, Michigan State concluded its last doubleheader of the season with wins over Bradley, 7-0, and Valparaiso, 5-2. The Spartans had no trouble putting away Bradley as they swept the Braves in every match on the court, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished all season.

Against Valparaiso, MSU lost the doubles point, but went on to capture five of the six singles matches. Nick Rinks won in straight sets at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-0, for his 21st win of 2006-07 season. He has won 12 consecutive sets, dating back to March 10.

The Buckeyes are 15-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten. They boast four singles players among the top 75 in the country. Sophomore Steven Moneke (27-6) is the top-ranked Buckeye singles player at #10. In addition to Moneke, sophomore Bryan Koniecko (16-7), the 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, comes in at #25. The senior duo Devin Mullings (24-4) and Chris Klingemann (22-4) are ranked at No. 34 and 75, respectively. Mullings and Klingemann combine to form the No. 18 doubles team in the nation.

The Illini are 10-4 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. A pair of players ranked among the top 12 leads Illinois. Junior Kevin Anderson is 16-4 on the season and ranked #6, while Ryan Rowe is 17-7 on the year and #12.

— ND —