Jan. 17, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
After dominating its first two matches of the season, the Michigan State men's tennis team will take its No. 47 ranking on the road this weekend to battle a perennial national contender in No. 29 Notre Dame. The match will take place at 12 p.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in South Bend, Ind.
"They're a very good team," head coach Gene Orlando said. "In fact, since I've been here we haven't beaten them. It would be a nice one to get, playing them on the road at their place. It's not going to be easy but I know our guys will be that much more eager to do something that we haven't done since I've been here."
Last Point Played
MSU served up its 2013-14 schedule Jan. 11 playing Detroit and Toledo. MSU shut out Detroit 7-0 for the second consecutive season and improved to 28-4-1 all-time against the Titans. The Spartans dropped Toledo 6-1 and are now 16-0 all-time against the Rockets.
Lied Named Big Ten Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week
Senior co-captain Drew Lied got his season off to a high note, posting a combined 4-0 mark against Detroit and Toledo. With his accomplishments, Lied was named the Big Ten Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week, the conference office announced Jan. 15. The award is Lied's first weekly award of his career. He is the eighth such Spartan to receive this acclamation under Coach Orlando.
Lied teamed with freshman Mac Roy at the No. 3 doubles position and defeated Detroit's Rafael Orantes and Patryk Koscielski 6-2. In singles action against Detroit, Lied played No. 2 singles and beat Patryk Koscielski 6-0, 6-5.
In the match against Toledo, Lied stayed on the No. 3 doubles court and paired with sophomore John Patrick Mullane to take down Garrett Cona and Roberto Meza 6-3. Lied moved up to the top singles court for his match against Stjepan Sisko. Lied dropped the first set and trailed in the second before he rallied for a three-set win, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.
Lied was also named second-team All-Big Ten and an All-Big Ten Academic honoree for the 2012-13 season.
Tough Schedule Ahead
After making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history last season, Coach Orlando certainly is not taking this year to celebrate and relax. Starting with this Sunday at No. 29 Notre Dame, eight of the remaining 12 non-conference opponents are ranked in the top 48 in the country. MSU will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., Jan. 24 to face the sixth-ranked Volunteers. MSU also has road dates with No. 31 Virginia Commonwealth, No. 35 North Carolina State, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 25 Tulsa, No. 27 Harvard and No. 48 Louisville.
All the non-conference slate is in preparation for Big Ten play. The conference currently boasts ten of its 12 members in the top 65 in the country, including No. 5 Ohio State and No. 22 Illinois.
Notre Dame Notes
MSU last faced Notre Dame Feb. 9, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. The No. 29-ranked Irish defeated the No. 48-ranked Spartans 6-1.
The Fighting Irish are coming off an impressive 2012-13 season. Notre Dame posted a 19-8 overall record, claimed the Big East championship for the ninth time in school history, and advanced to the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The No. 29th-ranked Irish are led by first-year head coach Ryan Sachire and return 11 letterwinners from last season.
On the singles court, Notre Dame returns its top two players from last year. Sophomore Quentin Monaghan tallied an 18-5 mark in dual play last season competing mostly on the No. 2 court and was named the Big East Freshman of the Year. He is currently ranked 90th nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Poll. Senior Greg Andrews posted an 18-7 record in dual play on the top court. Andrews is ranked No. 22 nationally.
Sophomore Alex Lawson and senior Billy Pecor are the top returning doubles team. The tandem posted a 17-12 overall and an 11-9 dual play record.
Recapping Bobby Bayliss Invitational
When MSU hits the road Sunday, it will not be the first time it has traveled to South Bend, Ind., this season. Notre Dame played host to the Bobby Bayliss Invitational Oct. 4-6, 2013. The majority of MSU's roster competed in the tournament that also included Louisville and Western Michigan.
Senior Aaron Pfister was named to the all-tournament team after posting a 3-1 singles and a 2-0 doubles record. Pfister claimed three singles wins over the Irish, defeating freshman Josh Hagar and junior Wyatt McCoy in straight sets and defeating freshman Eddy Covalschi in three sets.