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Men’s Tennis: Irish travel to Nebraska to face tough foes

Megan Finneran | Friday, January 25, 2013

 

This weekend the Irish travel for the first time this season, leaving the comforts of the Eck Tennis Pavilion to hit the road for Norman, Okla

There Notre Dame (2-1) will face Harvard and Oklahoma or Memphis in the ITA Kick-Off Tournament.

The Irish opened the spring season with two sweeps, taking down Marquette and Western Illinois 7-0. But they most recently come off a 4-3 loss to No. 41 Northwestern on Tuesday where the two squads served back and forth for more than three hours. Despite finishing on the losing end, the Irish said the match still provided many opportunities to learn and move forward in preparation for this weekend’s events.

“Moving forward, we just need to each focus on getting better individually,” junior Ryan Bandy said. “We have the ability to be great this year but we will have to maintain focus every day in practice so we can ensure that, when matches come, we are confident that we have prepared as much as possible in order to be successful.”

Notre Dame hopes to carry that focus through this weekend. The first challenge is Harvard, whose only play this season demonstrated abilities in both singles and doubles play. At the Harvard Winter Invite the squad hosted Boston College and Marist. Despite a young roster, the Crimson won 20 of 22 singles matches and nine of 10 doubles matches. Most outstanding were sophomore Denis Nguyen, who won the singles competition, and the duo of sophomore Alex Steinroeder and freshman Nicholas Mahlangu who took the doubles win. 

Oklahoma brings a threat in the form of junior Guillermo Alcorta, ranked No. 36 in singles play. The squad also carries sophomore Dane Webb and Costin Paval. Like Notre Dame, the Sooners kicked off their season with a 7-0 sweep, but that dual meet against Wichita State marks their only meet thus far in the spring season.

Junior Joe Salisbury and junior Johnny Grimal guide Memphis. The Tigers come off a 6-1 win against Michigan State.

The Irish enter the weekend with experience from upperclassmen that will help guide the team. Notre Dame carries four ranked singles members of the squad. Junior Greg Andrews leads at No. 80, followed by No. 88 junior Billy Pecor, No. 110 senior Blas Moros and No. 120 sophomore Wyatt McCoy.

“I’m excited for this weekend since it gives us another chance to prove ourselves and play some very good tennis,” Moros said.

Competition opens Saturday at 2 p.m. with the dual meet against Harvard, followed by Oklahoma or Memphis on Sunday.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu