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Men’s Tennis: Seniors to conclude home career

Laura Coletti | Friday, April 13, 2012

After a big win over Texas A&M, the Irish will try to continue their success when they face Louisville this weekend in their last match before the Big East tournament starts.

Notre Dame (17-7, 2-1 Big East) defeated Texas A&M in what was just their second home loss in their past 49 home matches.

“Almost everybody played well,” Irish coach Bob Bayliss said. “This should give us plenty of confidence as the season nears its conclusion.”

Notre Dame will take on the Cardinals (16-7, 0-0) in the latest of what has been a competitive history between the two teams. The Cardinals have been a talented program of late (consistently ranking in the top 15 over the past two years), but graduated a large senior class in 2011. One of the biggest advantages Louisville holds is the element of surprise, as they have a very large and talented freshman class the Irish have never faced before.

“We have a pretty spirited rivalry with the Cardinals,” Bayliss said. “Since they joined the Big East we have played many close, nail-biting matches. This year should be no different. Because they have some new faces, I think it puts more of an edge to things, as we have not yet seen several of their players. Their freshman class blends well with their two returning starters from 2011.”

The match will have an added element of nostalgia, since it will be the last home match for the careers of Irish seniors Casey Watt, Sam Keeton, Daven Brodess and Niall Fitzgerald.

“Certainly those guys want to go out in a way they will remember for a long time,” Bayliss said. “I am excited because we seem to be peaking at just the right time. If we can play more solidly in our doubles we are going to be tough to beat going into [the Big East and NCAA tournaments].”

Although this is the final match of the regular season, Bayliss does not see this match any differently than he does any other.

“I try to approach every match with the same mindset,” Bayliss said. “Putting greater emphasis on one might jeopardize attitudes going in and put undue pressure on our guys. The only difference in how we are preparing will depend on the weather forecast and its bearing on needing to get some indoor time under our belts.”

The Irish are set to square off against the Cardinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Center.

 

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu