Senior Andrew Roth and the Irish will look to upset #2 Ohio State Friday.

Notre Dame Set To Battle #2 Ohio State

March 27, 2008

Match Details:    #27 Notre Dame (10-7) vs. #2 Ohio State (18-1)        Friday, March 28, 2008, 4:00 p.m.        Eck Tennis Pavilion, Notre Dame, IN

Irish look to snap three-match losing streak: The Notre Dame men’s tennis team will be looking for its first win in two weeks when it battles second-ranked Ohio State Friday afternoon. After defeating North Carolina State in the first round of the Blue-Gray Tennis Classic two weekends ago, the Irish have dropped three straight, losing 4-0 to Tulsa and 4-3 to Boise State to wrap up play at the Blue-Gray tournament. The Irish were upset Tuesday afternoon by Kentucky by a 4-2 score. Stephen Havens was the only Notre Dame player to post two wins against the Wildcats, following up a win at No.3 doubles with a straight-set win at No.4 singles.

Notre Dame plays top two teams in the nation: Notre Dame is accustomed to playing a difficult schedule and 2008 is no different. For the first time since 1992, Notre Dame will square off will the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the same season. The Irish lost to #1 Virginia 5-2 last month and faces off with #2 Ohio State Friday. In ’92 the Irish beat #3 Georgia and #1 USC on their way to the NCAA title match, which they dropped to #2 Stanford.

High-Profile matches at the Eck: Friday marks just the fifth time in Notre Dame history that the Irish will face a top-3 team at home. The Irish are 0-4 in the previous contests, listed below:

Date    Opponent                Result3/27/99 #2 Illinois         L, 5-21/29/03 #2 Illinois     L, 6-13/17/05 #3 Illinois     L, 6-11/27/08 #1 Virginia         L, 5-2

Should the Irish spring the upset Friday, it will mark the highest ranked team Notre Dame has ever defeated at home. Notre Dame has beaten the eighth-ranked team at home three times. The Irish defeated #8 Duke 4-3 in 1997 and 6-1 in 2007. They also upended #8 Illinois last season 5-2.

Scouting the Buckeyes: Coach Ty Tucker has led Ohio State to a 58-4 record over the last two seasons, one of the best marks in the country. The Buckeyes have made back-to-back NCAA quarterfinal appearances, winning 76 of their last 81 matches. Ohio State also has a home winning streak that dates back to 2003. Notre Dame is the only team to beat Ohio State in the last two seasons on a non-neutral court.

The Buckeyes are rolling again in 2008, with their lone defeat coming at the hands of top-ranked Virginia in the final of the National Indoor Championships. Eight of Ohio State’s 18 wins have come by shutout, and the Buckeyes have recorded three wins over top 10 teams. Ohio State won at #5 Mississippi, and defeated #6 USC and #2 Georgia in the National Indoor Championships.

The Buckeyes are led by junior Stephen Moneke, an NCAA quarterfinalist a year ago who was just named the Big Ten Conference athlete of the week. Moneke is 18-6 in singles play this year including 15-1 in dual action.

Sophomore Justin Kronauge is the highest ranked singles player on the team at #19. He boasts a 14-4 record against ranked players this season, and also leads the team with 22 singles wins against just seven losses. Kronauge and doubles partner Drew Eberly are ranked fifth in the nation in doubles and are 16-5 as a pair this season.

Series Against Ohio State: Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Ohio State 26-22, but the Buckeyes have won four of the last five meetings with the Irish, including a 7-0 victory in Columbus last year. Prior to 2003, Notre Dame had won 14 in a row against Ohio State. The last Irish win in the series was in 2006, a 5-2 upset win over the #11 Buckeyes. The loss was one of only two that Ohio State suffered in 2006, with the other coming at the hands of Texas in the NCAA tournament.

Rankings Update: Despite the losing streak Notre Dame moved up to No. 27 in the recent ITA poll. The Irish were also represented in the singles poll by Brett Helgeson (43rd) and Sheeva Parbhu (83rd).