Irish look to end three-game skid against OSU
Joe Meixell | Friday, March 28, 2008
Notre Dame is looking to bounce back after three straight losses, but the No. 27 Irish will have be on top of their game as they take on No. 2 Ohio State. The Irish have had recent luck against the Buckeyes despite losing to them 7-0 last year in Columbus. Overall, the Irish hold the upper hand in head-to-head competition with a 26-22 record.”Two years ago they came here and we upset them,” coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Last year we went there and they beat us, but I feel like we can compete with them and make it a close match.”The Irish recently fell to No. 50 Kentucky with their other two losses coming at the Blue Gray Tennis Classic. The Irish fell to No. 33 Boise State, and No. 8 Tulsa in two close matches.”We were in all of our matches against both Boise State and Tulsa,” Bayliss said. “Against Kentucky, Brett (Helgeson) was up a set and 4-3 when the match was stopped. (Dan) Stahl has won a lot of close matches lately.”After the National Team Indoors, Bayliss decided a change needed to be made in the doubles lineup to get more productivity out of his No. 2 and 3 slots in the lineup. The No. 1 team of senior Sheeva Parbhu and Helgeson did not change. However, Bayliss teamed junior Santiago Montoya with senior Andrew Roth, and slid freshman Stephen Havens down to No. 3 doubles to play with fellow freshman Tyler Davis.”The freshmen team has not lost a match at No. 3 doubles,” Bayliss said. “The No. 2’s beat North Carolina State and Boise State in Alabama.”Bayliss also noted that the No. 1 doubles team has struggled since Alabama, but has confidence they will pick up the aggressiveness again.With their recent struggles Bayliss is continuing to look for ways to improve his starting lineup.”Sean Corrigan, Matt Johnson, and Takashi Yoshi are competing well in practice and are close to breaking into the lineup,” Bayliss said. “Each of the guys have had their moments in the sun. Hopefully, the maturity I expect will show itself soon.”Bayliss also said he has started four freshmen in the lineup in every match.This season the Irish will face eight of the top 16 teams in the nation. “Those matches will put the young guys under the gun,” Bayliss said. “But at the NCAA’s we will have seen everything out there and if it doesn’t pay off this year, it will definitely help for next year.”The Irish know they have a tough task ahead of them against the Buckeyes, with the Buckeyes only loss coming to No. 1 Virginia in the finals of the National Team Indoors earlier this year. “Ohio State is very good at doubles, and that will give us a good challenge,” Bayliss said.The Irish will take on the Buckeyes at 4 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion Friday. After the Buckeyes, the Irish will stay home and take on Ball State April 4.