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Men’s Tennis: Irish return home to host double dual meets

Peter Steiner | Thursday, February 23, 2012

After defeating No. 28 Michigan 4-3 on the road last Saturday, the Irish return to their home court Sunday against Michigan State and Big East opponent Marquette.

The No. 56 Spartans (8-5) enter the match with a record similar to the Irish (9-4). Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said his team will not underestimate the Spartans.

“Michigan State has always played us really close matches,” Bayliss said. “They probably have the best team they’ve had at Michigan State in 20 years. I think they are underrated. We anticipate having our hands full with Michigan State and having to play a great match in order to win it.”

In their second match, the Irish will face a Golden Eagles (5-3) squad that has yet to win a match on the road this season.

Despite their struggles away from home, the Golden Eagles boast a strong set of doubles teams and two solid No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, Bayliss said.

“Marquette is a Big East opponent and they are very well coached,” Bayliss said. “They traditionally play really good doubles.

They are very strong in their top part of their lineup. The challenge for us is going to be making sure we win at the top to get that match in the win column.”

In the last few matches, the Irish have relied on strong play from No.1 singles player senior Casey Watt and No. 2 singles player sophomore Greg Andrews to lead them to victory.

“We are starting to win and play really good tennis in the top of our lineup,” Bayliss said. “Casey Watt played a terrific match at Michigan. He lost 7-5 in the third set to the No. 6 player in the country. Greg Andrews won comfortably at No. 2.

“I consider our team to be a team that essentially has two number one players, and either one of them is comfortable of playing one at this time. I’m happy to see Casey’s improvement and I look forward to more strong play at the top of our lineup.”

Because the Irish play two matches in a row, fatigue is another obstacle the Irish might face in the match against Marquette.

“There is also going to be a short turnaround because we are going to playing Michigan State and only have an hour to get ready to play Marquette,” Bayliss said. “We think our team is in great shape, and we feel we are going to be able to do this, but that’s going to present some challenges as well.”



Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu