Men’s Tennis: Irish prepare for Ball State
Megan Finneran | Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The No. 27 Irish take a break over the weekend before returning to play Monday in Muncie, Ind., against Ball State.
Notre Dame (11-7) will enter the match coming off its most recent 6-1 win against William & Mary on Saturday.
The William & Mary win followed a 6-1 loss to No. 3 USC, helping the Irish bounce back after a loss to a tough opponent.
“We had good preparation leading up to the match, and I felt that nearly everyone was focused and really took it to [William & Mary], which was great to see,” freshman Quentin Monaghan said. “The USC match was definitely a building block to show that we can compete with the best. However, it is also important to take care of weaker opponents when the pressure we feel is completely different.”
Because it is also in Indiana, Ball State (11-6) has shared many opponents with Notre Dame. Earlier in the season, both squads lost to Northwestern, and Ball State and Notre Dame both took 7-0 wins over IUPUI this season. They both also faced Illinois, with the Irish winning 4-1 and the Cardinals losing 4-3. The Irish beat Michigan State 6-1, while Ball State lost to the Spartans 6-1.
“Going into Ball State, we are approaching it the same as if it was USC,” Monaghan said. “The team is very focused and set on particular facets of their own game.”
Ball State comes off a four-match winning streak, but all against unranked opponents. In singles action, sophomore Ray Leonard leads on the No. 1 court.
The Irish are led by a strong core, with No. 96 junior Greg Andrews continuing to perform well in the No. 1 spot for the squad. Also stepping up lately is senior Blas Moros, who earned Big East Player of the Week last week for his victories in singles play.
Against William & Mary, the Irish started with a win in doubles play. They have struggled to find consistency in doubles throughout the year, but focusing on this aspect of their game lately has allowed improvement. Freshman Alex Lawson and junior Billy Pecor have earned a No. 69 ranking as a duo on court No. 2.
The Irish have five matches left before the Big East championships. With that in the back of their minds, the squad is working to make every set count.
“These upcoming weeks are crucial because they are leading up to the Big East tournament, which is one of the biggest events we play,” Monaghan said.
Doubles play will begin against the Cardinals on Monday at 2 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.
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