Men’s Tennis: Bayliss, Irish to host Big East title matches
Meaghan Veselik | Thursday, April 22, 2010
After a strong 7-0 victory at Navy last weekend to finish the regular season, the Irish head back to their home courts this weekend to host the Big East championships, where Irish coach Bobby Bayliss will oversee the tournament’s operations while trying to guide his team to a conference title.
The challenge won’t be a new one, however, as he has hosted multiple NCAA championship rounds on the Notre Dame campus while his team was also competing in them. With the help of his staff, Bayliss is more than ready for the weekend.
“The challenges of hosting the Big East, at least for me, are greatly minimized because of the terrific support staff we have here,” he said. “Having this kind of support makes my job pretty easy.”
With the details planned, the courts prepared and his team’s needs met, Bayliss can focus on Notre Dame’s goals for the weekend.
“The goals for our team are twofold,” he said. “First come the performance goals. One: handle adversity with poise. Two: make good decisions as to when to be aggressive and when to keep the ball in play. Three: at the appropriate time, be willing to pull the trigger.”
Being on their home courts will definitely make the weekend easier on the Irish, who have spent much of the season on the road battling a difficult schedule. Most of all, this weekend gives the Irish (13-11) a chance to continue their positive play at home this year, as Notre Dame has gone 6-3 on its own courts.
“The benefits of hosting are to be able to play on our own home courts and to be able to sleep in our own beds,” Bayliss said. “We expect a good crowd and believe that this will help us to be at our best. Being familiar with all surfaces is certainly a plus.”
Not only are the Irish in familiar territory with the comforts of home, but they are also surrounded with well-known faces.
The Irish have won their last two matches, one at home against Ball State and, most recently, at Navy. In both events, Notre Dame was able to grab the doubles point early in the match for a jump-start into singles competition. The Irish are 10-1 on the season when capturing the doubles point, which they know will be tough against Georgetown (10-11), their first-round opponent.
“I have not seen Georgetown play this year, but they beat Navy 5-2 recently, so we are familiar with that level,” Bayliss said. “They are well coached by Gordie Ernst, someone I have known for 30 or more years, so I expect a team with sound doubles preparation and a very feisty attitude.”
Notre Dame will face Georgetown Friday at 9 a.m. in the first round of the Big East championships.