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Men’s Tennis: Notre Dame heads to ITA Regionals in Ohio

Meaghan Veselik | Friday, January 29, 2010

The Irish return to the courts this weekend as they travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face Tulsa in the first round of the Ohio State regional of the ITA’s National Team Indoor Championships.

“Tulsa beat us last year 4-2 in a pretty hard-fought match played in Tulsa,” Irish coach Bob Bayliss said. “They have hosted the NCAAs twice in the last few years and have put a great deal of resources and support into tennis.”

The other first round match-up will be No. 3 Ohio St. against No. 51 New Mexico. The winners of both matches will then play at 12:30 p.m. Sunday to see who will advance onto the Championships, hosted by Virginia on Feb. 12-15 at the Boars’ Head Sports Club.

“Goals for the weekend are to advance to the finals and play well there, most likely against Ohio State,” Bayliss said. “The Buckeyes are certainly a formidable team, as evidenced by that lofty No. 3 national ranking, but we hope to show that we are better than last year’s team.”

In order to adjust for the Buckeyes and their home courts, the Irish have abandoned their own home courts lately.

“We have been preparing for the quicker courts at Ohio State by practicing at the South Bend Racket Club,” Bayliss said. “We have spent a significant amount of time emphasizing holding the baseline to take away time from the opposition and finishing points at the net.”

No. 30 Notre Dame opened the 2010 season last weekend with wins over William & Mary and IUPUI while falling to No. 2 Virginia.

“I think we performed well at times [last] weekend,” Bayliss said. “Against William & Mary we played a bit tight at times, something that is understandable in the first competition of the year.”

Last season, the Irish met Tulsa at the National Team Indoor Qualifiers, in Tulsa.

Then-No.12 Tulsa defeated the Irish in the opening round of the tournament 4-2, but Notre Dame rebounded on the second day to sweep No. 20 Texas Tech, 4-0. 

Notre Dame has qualified for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships eight times since 1991. Their best showing came in 1992 when they took third, and made back-to-back appearances in 2007-2008.

The Irish look to advance Saturday as they take on Tulsa at 1 p.m. in Columbus.