Notre Dame prepares for top-25 foes
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Notre Dame’s spring season will shift into high gear as the No. 14 Irish host the 2015 ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Saturday and Sunday at Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Sixty men’s teams will compete across the country to qualify for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February, and those teams are separated into groups of four playing at 15 campus host sites. In the four-team tournament this weekend, the host site traditionally faces the No. 4-seeded school, and the No. 2 seed plays the No. 3 seed. The winner at each site advances to the national tournament, while first-day losers face off in a consolation round.
Last year, Notre Dame traveled to Kentucky to face the Wildcats, BYU and Minnesota. After defeating Minnesota on the first day of competition, the Irish upset Kentucky, 4-3, in the final match of the weekend.
The Irish are coming off a solid weekend at the Morgan Run Hidden Duals on Jan. 9-11 and more recently, bested No. 18 Kentucky in a 4-3 win last Saturday.
Notre Dame will host a competitive men’s pod, with all four teams ranked in the top 25 — No. 16 Columbia, No. 17 Tennessee and No. 24 Oklahoma State. The Irish will take on Oklahoma State in Saturday’s opening round, and Tennessee will play Columbia that day.
Competition between the Lions and Volunteers kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the Irish and Cowboys will square off at 2 p.m. The winners of each match will face each other at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the consolation match at 10 a.m. that day. All matches will take place at Eck Tennis Pavilion, with a trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February on the line.