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Men’s Tennis: ND looks to rebound with Louisville upset

Kate Grabarek | Wednesday, April 20, 2011

After a tough loss to No. 2 Ohio State, Notre Dame will take on defending Big East champion Louisville this weekend.

“Louisville returns all of its starters from last year’s No. 12 team that reached the NCAA round of 16,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Four seniors start, so they have been through the wars. They are especially tough at home — and in particular, indoors.”

Senior Dan Stahl is riding an eight-match win streak, including a win over the Buckeyes.

“Against Ohio State we learned that we have some pretty good players, as the doubles was very competitive and we won at No. 3 and No. 6,” Bayliss said.

The Irish lost to Louisville in the finals of the Big East tournament last season and will look to redeem themselves this year.

Bayliss notes that both lineups are similar to last season and making a dent in the top of Louisville’s lineup will be crucial if the Irish expect to have success against the Cardinals.

Notre Dame has been injury-plagued all season. With many starters missing significant amounts of time, Bayliss will have some tough decisions to make before the tournament.

“In preparing for the Big East, we need to have a great effort against Louisville,” Bayliss said. “Additionally, we need to make decisions regarding roster management because we have started nine players most of the year and the roster needs to be trimmed to eight before play begins.”

Junior Sam Keeton may be available to play for the Irish on Saturday against Louisville, which may give Notre Dame a much-needed boost.

Last year in the match against Louisville, Keeton was able to defeat Robert Hall in three sets for one of two Irish victories.

The winner of the match between Louisville and Notre Dame will likely get the No. 1 seed in next weekend’s Big East tournament that will be held in South Bend.

The Irish will travel to Louisville, Ky., to take on the Cardinals with the first serve set for 1 p.m. and will return to South Bend to host the Big East championships beginning April 28.