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Men’s Tennis: Irish return to Virginia

Peter Steiner | Friday, March 22, 2013

No. 27 Notre Dame will return to a familiar venue this weekend when it travels to Williamsburg, Va., to play William and Mary on Saturday. 

The Irish (10-7) faced William and Mary (7-12) in November at the Tribe Invitational along with Harvard and Old Dominion. At the invitational, Notre Dame won six of eight singles matches and six of nine doubles matches against the Tribe. 

“They’re always a tough team to play,” Irish junior Ryan Bandy said. “This year they are not ranked as high as they usually are, but they’re always scrappy. They’re always going to compete well.”

In addition to competing at the Tribe Invitational, both the Irish and the Tribe played in the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., over spring break. Although they did not face each other, they did play two common opponents – Troy and No. 29 Cornell. While The Irish defeated both teams, the Tribe fell to Cornell in the opening round of the tournament. Notre Dame will be the favorites this weekend, but must maintain its focus on energy level, Bandy said.

“I think it’s extremely important for us that we are going to maintain the mindset that we are going to continue to compete well in practice the next the couple of days,” Bandy said. “When William and Mary comes Saturday, [we need to] start off real strong in doubles with lot of energy and get after them.”

Most recently, the Irish hosted No. 2 USC at the Eck Pavilion on Wednesday, but the Irish lost to the Trojans (16-2), 6-1. The team began the match slowly, dropping the doubles point, but competed well in the singles matches, forcing four three-set singles matches against the deep USC lineup.

“We just learned from [Wednesday’s] lesson when we came out a little dry in doubles to make sure from the first point in doubles just to be on them and have a lot of energy,” Bandy said. “[We need to] go out there and compete harder than we did [Wednesday] at the start and just kind of build on what we did in singles.”

The Irish are 4-2 in the month of March, with their most notable victory over then-No. 13 Illinois on March 5. Including their match against William and Mary, the Irish have six matches remaining before the Big East championships, which take place at Eck Pavilion.

The match against the Tribe will kick off Saturday at 10 a.m. in Williamsburg, Va.

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu