NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The No. 28 University of Notre Dame men's tennis team captured its ninth BIG EAST title and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Sunday morning as the Irish swept archrival Louisville (No. 50), 4-0, at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
With the win, the Irish claimed their ninth BIG EAST title, and first since 2008, in their last season in the league as well as the last season for ITA Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bayliss, who is retiring following the end of the season. In 18 years in the BIG EAST, Notre Dame has won eight BIG EAST finals, finished as the runner-up seven times, taken third and fourth place once each and been named co-champion after the 2003 championship match against Miami was canceled due to poor weather.
The win also gives Notre Dame 16 conference championships in its history, counting the seven it won in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) beginning in 1989 and ending in 1995. The Irish won all 16 crowns under Bayliss, who came to Notre Dame from MIT in 1988.
"I'm especially happy for this group of guys," said Bayliss. "We've had a tremendous team culture all year. There are no big egos and everyone has shouldered the load the entire season. For the seniors - Blas (Moros), Michael (Moore) and Spencer (Talmadge) - it was good to see them go out with a win. I'm looking forward to watching Ryan's (Sachire) team next year. I feel there is a tremendous nucleus of players and under his direction I anticipate great things.
"I would like to thank the fans who stayed with us all weekend and turned the Eck Tennis Pavilion into a hotbed of enthusiasm. I feel the staff at Notre Dame really put its best foot forward in hosting this event. Monica (Cundiff) and Kathryn (Coneys) were on top of everything all weekend from an event management side and Tony Sutton and Jim Russ did a great job on the medical side of things."
Junior standout Greg Andrews was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship after going 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles throughout the week. The Richland, Mich., native became the sixth Irish men's performer to earn the award and the first since Brett Helgeson in 2008.
Notre Dame will now await its NCAA Championship destination, with the first and second rounds set for May 10-12 at select campus sites around the country.
The Irish will carry a nine-match winning streak into the NCAAs, which is the longest streak since the 2006-07 squad won nine in a row and advanced to the NCAA Round of 16.
With a great home crowd behind their every shot, the Irish absolutely dominated the doubles point, winning handily at one and two.
Alex Lawson and Billy Pecor followed closely behind with an 8-4 victory over Van Damrongsri and Sebastian Stiefelmeyer at one.
With the doubles point decided, action at three was abandoned with Quentin Monaghan and Andrews leading Luis Elizondo and Albert Wagner, 7-2.
In singles the Irish closed out the match with wins at six, one and two. Bandy gave the Irish a 2-0 lead as he breezed past Damrongsri in straight sets at six, 6-3, 6-1. The lead stretched to 3-0 after No. 85 Andrews bested No. 65 Stiefelmeyer, 6-3, 7-5, for the second time in a week. Freshman Quentin Monaghan clinched the title for Notre Dame with a 7-5, 6-3 win at two over Wagner.
Action at three, four and five was abandoned with the match decided.
No. 1: #85 Greg Andrews (ND) d. #65 Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (LOU), 6-3, 7-5