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Men’s Tennis: Group champions highlight weekend

Walker Carey | Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Irish enjoyed a successful weekend competing against Minnesota, Denver and Nebraska this weekend in the Gopher Invitational at the University of Minnesota.

The singles tournament field was broken down into four groups, each comprised of two players from each team, totaling eight players for each group. The doubles tournament field was structured similarly, but with only one pair per team in each group.

The Irish had three players emerge as champions of their singles groups, with senior Sam Keeton winning Group B, sophomore Billy Pecor taking Group C and junior Blas Moros winning Group D.

“[Keeton, Pecor and Moros] all did a fantastic job,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Keeton and Moros did not lose a match in their groups and Pecor only lost once. They competed hard and obviously did very well for us.”

Notre Dame also saw victory in doubles Group B, as the tandem of senior Casey Watt and sophomore Greg Andrews took the crown. Bayliss said it was not only the group champions, but the entire Irish squad that turned in strong performances at the tournament.

“It was a very strong effort this weekend,” Bayliss said. “It was an impressive effort all around. The guys that won their groups obviously played very well, but so did everyone else. It was a strong showing.”

Bayliss was particularly impressed with senior Niall Fitzgerald, who gave a notable effort despite not being 100 percent healthy.

“I was very proud of Niall today,” Bayliss said. “He was battling a very sore arm and gave us quite the courageous performance in his win over Minnesota’s Michael Sicora. [Fitzgerald] would have usually used a big serve to get the win, but today he had to be more tactical. He did a great job being able to get the victory.”

The Minnesota Invitational marked the end of Notre Dame’s fall schedule, so there will be a break from team activities until competition resumes in January. However, Bayliss said there could still be improvement during the break.

“The guys can definitely get better through work with weights and some conditioning,” Bayliss said. “We are not allowed to do any team activities, but that does not deter us from improvement.”

The Irish will return to competition when they host Illinois State and Toledo on Jan. 15.


Contact Walker Carey at wcarey@nd.edu