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Men’s Tennis: Class of 2014 shows promise

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Notre Dame’s last two recruiting classes have been ranked sixth and fifth, respectively, and this year’s class is no different.

The Notre Dame recruiting Class of 2014 has been ranked the fifth-best in the country according to a tennisrecruiting.net poll, one of the top comprehensive sources for tennis recruiting in the country. The Irish will welcome Greg Andrews, Ryan Bandy, Matt Dooley and Billy Pecor to the courts next year.

Notre Dame is the only program in the nation that can currently boast a top-six recruiting ranking for three consecutive years.

“I was not aware that we are the only school with three consecutive top-six recruiting classes, but that is something we should be very proud of,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Most of the credit should go to [associate head coach] Ryan Sachire, as he has been to even more junior events than I and has really developed a strong rapport with many of the coaches of the top junior players, which is a big key.”

Notre Dame also signed more new players than any of the other four top-five teams. Each player signed National Letters of Intent in November to continue their careers under Bayliss and Sachire.

Among the other top five recruiting leaders are Duke, who defeated the Irish 7-0 this past weekend, UCLA, Michigan, the Irish’s next opponent, and Georgia. UCLA currently stands at No. 4 while Duke is at No. 21. Notre Dame stands at No. 34.

National tournament directors, members of the media, and various junior tennis experts vote in the recruiting rankings on tennisrecruiting.net.

Each voter ranked the top-25 recruiting classes, giving schools 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 points for each second-place vote and down to one point for each of the 25 place votes. The Irish received a total of 379 points, compared to 404 for Georgia in fourth place and 445 for Duke in first.

Bayliss said he values certain characteristics in recruits that may not show up in recruiting rankings.

“Seeing them play as often as possible is important because you want to know how they will handle stress and adversity as much as how they handle success,” Bayliss said. “I like to see how they interact with their peers and their parents. If they are rude to their parents they will likely be the same with me. If I am going to spend four years of my life with someone it is important that we get along.”

In order to land these players, Notre Dame needed to beat out some noteworthy competition. Andrews, No. 11 on the top recruiting list, was also highly interested in Michigan and Stanford before signing with the Irish. Pecor, No. 22 for recruiting, had a bit of an easier decision, signing early in September to play for the Irish.

“I don’t believe in bringing in anyone who cannot eventually play in our lineup and each of these guys have shown that potential.” Bayliss said. “We currently have a couple of guys who are clearly better in doubles and it will be interesting to see how each of these new additions adapts there. Certainly we will be among the deepest teams in the country next year.”