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Men’s Tennis: Irish face toughest competition of the season

By Megan Finneran | Friday, February 22, 2013

The No. 25 Irish hit the road this weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to face No. 4 Ohio State. The Buckeyes (10-2) will be the highest ranked opponent Notre Dame (6-4) has faced this season.

Ohio State dropped its second contest of the season 4-3 last weekend to No. 1 Virginia. Its only other loss came against No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 10. The Irish enter the weekend following a 4-3 victory over No. 23 Michigan.

“The [Michigan] win will give us some confidence going into this weekend,” junior Ryan Bandy said.

Junior Billy Pecor has become a leader for the Irish lately, clinching the win over Michigan with his victory in singles play. Pecor also earned a win in doubles play during the contest. The Big East awarded Pecor Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

For the Buckeyes, No. 62 junior Blaz Rola offers similar leadership skills. The Big Ten named him Athlete of the Week for the eighth time in Rola’s career Wednesday. Rola is 7-0 in singles play and 7-0 in doubles play this season.

Joining Rola in the national singles rankings for the Buckeyes are No. 2 junior Peter Kobelt, No. 30 senior Connor Smith and No. 37 freshman Chris Diaz.

Despite the disparity in rankings, senior Blas Moros said the Irish have no hesitation as the weekend approaches.

Notre Dame lost to No. 6 Kentucky on Feb. 12, but the 4-3 contest proved to the squad it can compete with the toughest opponents, he said. “We have a great opportunity this weekend against top-five Ohio State and our guys know that,” Moros said. “There will be no lack of motivation getting ready for this match.”

Play will begin at 12 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu