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Men’s Tennis: Irish ready to bounce back against Louisville

Meaghan Veselik | Friday, April 9, 2010

After falling 7-0 to No. 2 Ohio State Wednesday in a tough home match, the No. 36 Irish are looking to get back on their feet Saturday when they face Big East rival No. 14 Louisville.

“The loss to Ohio State was tough, but that was [Wednesday] and Louisville comes in here Saturday and I doubt if they are feeling too sorry for us,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Our job now is to regroup and be ready to take on another top 15 team. We hope that the familiar home courts will give us a boost and that we can bounce back from Wednesday’s loss.”

Notre Dame (11-10) returned to campus late Tuesday night after competing in Texas over Easter break, where the team went 1-1, defeating Southern Methodist and falling to Texas A&M. However, Bayliss doesn’t make up any excuses for his team.

“I believe that the first person or team to find an excuse for losing will make it a self-fulfilling prophesy,” he said. “Competing is about never allowing that doubt to creep into your mind and always finding something positive to use to your advantage. Hopefully we will handle any adversity well this weekend.”

Notre Dame is looking to avenge last season’s two losses to the Cardinals, both of which ended by a final of 4-3. Bayliss said Louisville’s impressive ranking and strong depth in its lineup will be the greatest challenges to overcome in Saturday’s matchup, not the conference rivalry.

“I don’t consider the Big East rivalry as important as I do the opportunity to take on a highly ranked team and the benefits coming from that,” Bayliss said. “We had genuine opportunities to win both matches [last season].”

Among the Cardinals’ strong lineup are four international players — Austin Childs, Simon Childs, Viktor Maximcuk and Alejandro Calligari, each of whom brings his own playing style the Irish will have to adjust to, as well as success in doubles competition. Louisville has spent a significant amount of time ranked in the top ten, and as Bayliss says, Notre Dame knows it will have to bring its best effort.

As part of that great effort, the Irish will have to continue the excellence they have shown at doubles so far this season with junior Stephen Havens and sophomore Casey Watt leading the way at the No. 1 position. Bayliss said he knows that endurance in his team’s play will be the key to success this weekend.

“A tennis match is more of a marathon than a sprint, and we need to muster the ability to stay with the good teams long enough to be able to take advantage of the momentum swings that go our way,” Bayliss said. “Being patient, yet taking advantage of opportunities, is the key to winning.”