Men’s Tennis: Irish aim for Big Ten revenge against Wisconsin
Megan Finneran | Friday, March 1, 2013
The Irish will have the chance to take a break at the beginning of this weekend – their first match won’t be until Sunday afternoon, when they travel to Madison to play Wisconsin.
No. 29 Notre Dame (6-5) will hit the road for the second consecutive weekend, facing another Big Ten team after falling 7-0 to No. 7 Ohio State last weekend in Columbus, Ohio.
The Buckeyes took an early lead by claiming the doubles point, then continued racking up points as they won every singles match. Freshman Quentin Monaghan stepped up for the Irish on the No. 2 court, fighting for three long sets, but ultimately lost.
“OSU is one of the toughest teams in college tennis right now and one of the toughest teams we will play all season,” sophomore Mike Fredericka said. “We saw by playing them that we have the talent to compete and hang with the best out there.”
This weekend Notre Dame looks for a fresh start against the Badgers.
Wisconsin climbed in the rankings over the past week, jumping from the No. 75 spot to their current No. 59 after a 4-3 comeback win over Big Ten rival Minnesota. At the time of the upset victory, Minnesota stood ranked at No. 40.
The Badgers have only lost the doubles point twice, including once against Minnesota. This season, the Irish have often struggled to win the doubles point, but have placed more emphasis on the opening point of the match over the past few weeks.
Underclassmen have supported the Badgers’ lineup throughout the season, particularly freshmen Jakhongir Jalalov and Alexander Kokorev, who often play in the No. 5 and No. 6 spots, respectively. Both Badgers won their singles match 6-4, 6-4 against Minnesota.
Prior to Minnesota, Wisconsin had only faced one ranked opponent, falling 5-2 to No. 18 Clemson (No. 51 at the date of the contest).
Notre Dame hopes to add another loss to a ranked opponent to Wisconsin’s standings.
The Irish will continue to seek leadership from No. 97 junior Greg Andrews, No. 102 senior Blas Moros, and Monaghan.
“This week we have concentrated on playing sets in order to prepare for the match physically and mentally as well as maintaining focus in order to give us the best chance for success on the road,” Fredericka said.
Doubles play will begin against the Badgers at 3 p.m. at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wis. on Sunday.
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