Feb. 17, 2005
EVANSTON, Ill. -
40th-ranked Northwestern travels to South Bend, Ind. this Friday, Feb. 18 to face 23rd-ranked Notre Dame, in what will be only the `Cats second dual match away from home so far this season.
The Fighting Irish recently leapt six spots in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) national rankings to 23rd following a pair of 7-0 sweeps against Marquette and the University of Indianapolis.
Notre Dame (8-2) also has impressive wins over then-18th-ranked North Carolina, 5-2, and then-40th-ranked Florida State, 4-3.
"Notre Dame is having a really good year," Head Coach Paul Torricelli said. "They've already taken down Florida State and North Carolina, maybe surprising some people. We know how good they are though because they're extremely deep and very experienced."
The Wildcats (5-3, 1-0 Big Ten) also defeated the top-20 Tar Heels by a 5-2 count one day after the Irish took them down.
Northwestern holds a 37-33 all-time advantage over Notre Dame, but the Golden Domers won the schools' most recent meeting, 5-2, last year in Evanston.
Friday will mark the fourth time in the last five matches that the `Cats take on a top-25 opponent. Northwestern's last test came against sixth-ranked Mississippi, in which the `Cats fell, 6-1.
Despite the loss, Torricelli was pleased with his team's effort against the top-10 Rebels.
"We played one of the top teams in the nation extremely tough," Torricelli said. "Tommy (Hanus) put himself in a position to beat the top singles player in the nation (Catalin Gard). We fought extremely hard in all our singles matches."
In doubles competition against Mississippi, Hanus (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) and junior Adam Schaechterle (Oconomowoc, Wis./Kettle Moraine) beat Freddie Aarum and Irling Tveit 9-8 (14-12) in a tie-breaker that capped an 80-minute doubles session. With the win, the Wildcat duo improved their record to 6-2 on the season.
Sophomore Willy Lock (Lima, Peru/Markham College) provided the `Cats with a win at No. 3 singles, beating Bram ten Berge 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Lock has a Northwestern-best 7-1 mark in dual singles matches this year.
Following Friday's match, Northwestern will return to Combe Tennis Center for a 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 bout against Oregon.