Men’s Tennis: Irish improve mean streak
Joe Meixell | Thursday, August 31, 2006
Notre Dame coach Bobby Bayliss identified two specific areas his team will need to focus on this fall in order to exceed last season’s Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Championship – conditioning and aggression.
The Irish finished the season ranked No. 18 when they fell to No. 1 Georgia in the NCAA Sweet 16. Before falling to the Dawgs, Notre Dame defeated No. 19 Texas A&M 4-2 in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
But with an improved emphasis on conditioning, Notre Dame will put itself in a better position to make a deeper run. The fall season does not officially start until Sept. 4, but the team has been working on conditioning and endurance on their own as well as with strength coach Chris Sandeen.
“We want to be as well conditioned and durable as any team out there,” Bayliss said.
The Irish will continue to work on their conditioning when the season begins, but will also begin developing each player’s individual strengths. Bayliss said that each of his players has different strengths and weaknesses, and that in order to have a successful season – the team will need to emphasis these strengths.
One specific area where Notre Dame will look to improve upon is its aggression at the net, especially in doubles.
“[In doubles] we will work a little more on net plays,” Bayliss said. “[We need to] be more consistent as well as more aggressive.”
Bayliss said that it is also important to factor in each players individual style when deciding doubles partners. Notre Dame will try to come up with the best pairings to match the capabilities of all the Irish players, something that has been a struggle in the past.
And in order to figure this out, Bayliss feels that is necessary for the team to compete in more preseason matches. He intends to have the team play in some elite tournaments this fall to make the team even stronger.
Notre Dame welcomes four new freshmen that should figure into the mix early in the season – Sean Corrigan, Takashi Yoshii, Graham King and Daniel Schafer. They will join a talented group that includes junior Sheeva Parbhu, Brett Helgeson, Ryan Keckley and Eric Langenkamp.
“We are excited to be back and ready to go,” Bayliss said. “Our freshmen are eager [to play.] It’s a terrific blend of experience and youth, and usually that bodes well for what the season will bring.”