April 16, 2007
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Notre Dame men’s tennis team has garnered the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Conference Men’s Tennis Championship, slated for this Friday-Sunday, April 20-22, at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The Irish, ranked sixth in the nation, open the tournament on Friday at 9 a.m. (EDT) against either eighth-seeded Villanova. The final is set for Saturday at 9 a.m.
Louisville earned the No. 2 seed, while No. 3 USF, No. 4 DePaul and No. 5 St. John’s round out the top five. Marquette has earned the No. 6 seed followed by No. 7 Georgetown and No. 8 Villanova.
Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed in the event for the ninth time overall and third consecutive season. The Irish also came in as the top seed in 1996, ’97, ’98, ’99, `01, ’05, ’06 and `07. Notre Dame has reached the final of the BIG EAST tournament in all 11 years since becoming a conference member in 1995-96, winning championships in 1996, ’99, `02, ’04 and `05, while seeing the ’03 title match rained out.
A year ago, the Irish cruised into the final following a pair of 4-0 victories over Georgetown and USF, but Notre Dame was unable to carry that momentum in its match up with Louisville in the title match. The Cardinals captured the doubles point and appeared to be on its way to a decisive victory when they took the opening set in all but one singles match, but the Irish fought back and forced third sets in five matches. However, Louisville took two of those three matches, as well as a straight-set victory, to secure the title.
Eight of the 12 members of the BIG EAST Conference field teams in men’s tennis, but the league does not require round-robin competition during the season. All eight teams, as selected by the conference based on national ranking and head-to-head results, earned invitations to the league championship, a single-elimination team tournament and the winner gaining the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, which begins on campus sites May 11-13.
Notre Dame faced just one BIG EAST school, Louisville, during the regular season, but earned the top seed on the basis of being the only conference squad in the national rankings. The Irish carry a four-match winning streak into the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame also currently boasts a 33-match winning streak against unranked teams (last loss: 1/24/03 vs. Indiana, 4-3) and holds a 95-3 (.969) all-time mark against current members of the BIG EAST.
Friday, April 20
#1 Notre Dame vs. #8 Villanova, 9:00 a.m.
#4 DePaul vs. #5 St. John’s, 12:00 p.m.
#3 USF vs. #6 Marquette, 12:00 p.m.
#2 Louisville vs. #7 Georgetown, 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, April 21
Semifinal #1, 9:00 a.m.
Semifinal #2, 9:00 a.m.
Sunday, April 22
Final, 9:00 a.m.
— ND —