April 26, 2004
The University of Notre Dame (13-8, 1-2 BIG EAST) has garnered the second seed in the BIG EAST Conference Men’s Tennis Championship, slated for this Thursday-Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex in Coral Gables, Fla. The Irish, ranked 33rd in the nation, are the highest-ranked league squad by 14 spots and have a bye in the first round of the six-team event. Notre Dame will open play Friday at Noon (EDT) in the semifinals against either third-seeded and 49th-ranked Miami (12-7, 1-0) or sixth-seeded Boston College (6-15, 1-2). The final is set for Saturday at Noon.
The Hurricanes and Eagles will play in the first round on Thursday at Noon, while fourth-seeded St. John’s (11-9, 5-1) and fifth-seeded Rutgers (6-11, 4-1) will face off at 9 a.m. The winner of the latter contest will take on second-seeded and 47th-ranked Virginia Tech (14-10, 2-0) on Friday at 9 a.m.
Notre Dame and Miami have met in the final of the BIG EAST tournament all eight years since the Irish became a conference member in 1995-96. Notre Dame won the league title in 1996, ’99, and 2002, while last year’s title match was rained out in progress, with no champion declared, but the Hurricanes gaining the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament due to league policy.
The Irish played three BIG EAST teams this season, beating St. John’s 6-0 at home before falling 5-2 at home against Miami and 4-3 at Virginia Tech. Notre Dame was without No. 1 singles player Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) vs. the Hurricanes, while the Hokies won a pair of tight doubles matches and a three-setter at No. 6 singles to claim victory.
Notre Dame is the second seed for just the second time (also in 2000). The Irish have been the top seed on seven occasions and were the third seed a year ago.