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    Fighting Irish

    Jan. 13, 1998

    Notre Dame 1998 Men's Tennis Outlook

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men's tennis team kicks off its 1998 dual match schedule on Sat., January 17, when it travel to Minnesota for a 6:00 p.m. match. Notre Dame's home season will start on Sat., Jan. 24, when the Irish play host to two matches against Miami of Ohio (9:00 a.m.) and DePaul (4:00 p.m.).

    The Minnesota match will pit two of the Midwest's finest teams as the Irish and Minnesota have met in the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament in each of the last four years. Last season, the Golden Gophers ended Notre Dame's season with a 4-2 win in the first round of the Midwest regional. Notre Dame holds a 12-9 series edge with Minnesota.

    Notre Dame was ranked No. 21 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association preseason poll while Minnesota was at No. 47.

    The Irish return four of its six starters in singles from last season and Notre Dame has its top doubles team coming back plus three of its next four players in the doubles lineup.

    "We have great expectations for this year's team since we return most of the key players from last season," says Bayliss, whose team finished last season ranked No. 16 in the country by the ITA and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the seventh-straight year. "The biggest concern for me is a schedule that will have us on the road for a majority of our matches this year and having faced most of our opponents at Notre Dame last year."

    Patterson photo
    Brian Patterson enjoyed a solid fall season. (File photo)

    Notre Dame's fall season was highlighted with Brian Patterson and Jakub Pietrowski winning the ITA Midwest Regional doubles title.

    The Irish schedule will be a challenge with road matches against nationally-ranked teams such as Kentucky (Feb. 11), Miami of Florida (Feb. 15), Duke (March 26), Texas (April 11), Illinois (April 13) and the Blue-Gray National Classic in Montgomery, Ala., from March 19-22. The Irish will also travel to the BIG EAST Championship in Miami from April 24-26 and try to win its second conference championship in two years.

    "We have great experience on this team and we have been through the wars," says Bayliss. "I am very excited about the infectuous enthusiasm I see on this team. I think we have a chance to be very good.

    "We need to stick to our goals, which are performance and task-oriented goals. A quality which has made our team stand out over the years has been its committment to each other and that quality seems to be present again."

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