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Men’s Tennis: Team looks to get back on track

Sam Gans | Thursday, January 26, 2012

Following a tough 4-3 loss at No. 17 Illinois last Sunday, the No. 28 Irish look to rebound this weekend when they travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face Indiana Saturday and either No. 3 Ohio State or Cornell Sunday.

Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said he expects a win against Indiana would mean facing Ohio State, while a loss would bring on Cornell.

“Going into this weekend, it’s a big weekend for us,” Bayliss said. “If we beat Indiana, then we’ll get to play Ohio State. So that will be a great opportunity. We want to maximize that. If we lose, we’ll [play] Cornell, who was the Ivy League champion last year. They’re not going to beat Ohio State.”

In addition to a potential showdown against a top-5 opponent, the two matchups this weekend bring an opportunity to avenge mistakes made against the Illini (3-0).

“We were clearly pretty disappointed because we were in a position to beat Illinois and we mainly just played one really bad doubles match and that ended up as we look back on it — you don’t know it at the time — that particular match is the one you’d like to replay,” Bayliss said. “We’re good enough to be in a match with anybody we play, including the very best teams in the country. It’s just a matter of capitalizing when the opportunity presents itself and that’s something we didn’t quite do.”

Though the Irish (3-1) fell to Illinois, sophomore Greg Andrews defeated No. 24 Roy Kalmanovich in straight sets. Andrews has started the year with a perfect 4-0 record in singles play along with a 3-1 doubles record with senior partner Casey Watt. Andrews earned Big East Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week honors for his performance against Illinois and William & Mary.

“Greg’s always been a hard worker and he arrived last year, I think, as truly one of the better freshmen in the country and didn’t do anything to make us think otherwise and he had a strong year for us playing at No. 4,” Bayliss said. “This year, the challenge [is] he’s up near the top of the lineup, he’s playing No. 2 right now and he’s going to play much better players.

“We’ve had trouble the last couple of years getting wins in the top part of the lineup and it’s nice to feel that I think Casey’s playing better this year and for Greg to move up high and give us some strength up there, I think we’re in much better shape in that part of the lineup than we have been in the past.”

Andrews and the Irish will try to take down Indiana at 10 a.m. Saturday in Columbus before facing either Ohio State or Cornell Sunday.