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Men’s Tennis: Irish travel to ITA Regional Championships

By Peter Steiner | Thursday, October 11, 2012

After dominating the Tom Fallon Invitational at the Eck Tennis Pavilion last weekend, the Irish are looking to carry their momentum through fall break and into the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships. The event begins one week from today in East Lansing, Mich.

Notre Dame has already performed strongly in numerous events this fall, but next weekend the team will face off against the best teams and players from the Midwest region.

“[The USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships] is open to all of the college teams in the Midwest region,” Irish coach Bob Bayliss said. “It’s prominently, in terms of competing at the highest level, between mostly the Big Ten schools and Notre Dame with a few individual players on some other teams that are capable of strong showings.

“We are pretty familiar with the people that will be there and we’re excited about the opportunity to go there and compete.”

The tournament consists of a qualifying round and a main draw, each of which includes 64 players. The top-8 players from the qualifying round advance to the main draw, where they face off against the top-56 players. Last year, the Irish had 10 singles players and six doubles teams compete in the main draws.

Junior Greg Andrews advanced the furthest of any current Notre Dame player in the singles main draw, winning his first two matches. Bayliss said he believes Andrews, who experienced a breakout season last spring, has a good chance to succeed for the Irish this year.

“Our own Greg Andrews I think has a chance to do well,” Bayliss said. “There will be several things he’ll need to do. One is he will need to successfully adjust to faster courts. Two will be for him to continue to hit aggressively off the backhand side.”

For Andrews and the entire Irish roster, the Midwest Regional Championships will provide a great opportunity to achieve various fall season goals, Bayliss said.

“One goal is to give the best accounting of ourselves and where we are at this point in the season that we can give,” he said. “In other words, to just go out and compete hard and play well. Then anything beyond that, if anyone is fortunate enough to win the tournament, they get a spot in the national indoors, which is the top-32 players in the country.

“A third goal would be to see how we fare and match up with some of the better teams and players in the Midwest.”

To accomplish these goals, the Irish will look to draw from their accomplishments this past weekend at the Tom Fallon Invitational, where they won 30 of 37 singles matches and seven of 10 doubles matches at home. While Bayliss said he knows the experience gained from the successful invitational will be advantageous, he also warns against taking too much away from the event.

“I think the momentum and confidence we gained this weekend should help us,” he said. “But what we have to remember is that we had some great results this past weekend, but they were on our own home courts against people that are visiting.

“That being said, the results were terrific for us. A lot of our guys did very well. [Senior] Blas Moros had a great tournament. I feel like that this showing we had should really help us at the Regionals.”

The event comes at a convenient time for the Irish, as the team will have an entire week free of distractions to prepare.

“The nice thing for us is that it’s over fall break so everyone should be rested and not stressed out with tests because they’ll have a few days to get caught up on any thing they need,” Bayliss said.

The Irish will travel to East Lansing, Mich., to compete in the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships beginning Oct. 18 and concluding Oct. 22.

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu