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Match Preview: Men's Tennis vs. Notre Dame

April 5, 2001

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#32 Baylor (8-7, 5-1) vs. #16 Notre Dame (13-4)
Friday, April 6, 2001, 2 p.m. , Waco, Texas

The No. 32 Baylor men's tennis team hosts 16th-ranked Notre Dame Friday at 2 p.m. at the Streich Tennis Courts.

The Fighting Irish enter the match having lost two in a row. Notre Dame fell 5-2 to No. 22 Illinois March 30, then lost Sunday to #19 Miami, 4-3. Prior to the two losses, the Irish had won 10 straight, which pushed them into the top 10 for the first time since 1993. The two losses dropped the team back down to No. 16.

The last time the Bears and Irish faced one another in dual match play was 1986, when Baylor beat Notre Dame 6-3 in Waco. The two teams saw quite a bit of each other during the fall season, however. Baylor played at Notre Dame's Tom Fallon Invitational in September, then faced the Irish again the next week at the Fluitt Invitational.

The Irish feature a pair of ranked singles players in No. 91 Casey Smith and No. 93 Javier Taborga. Notre Dame's top doubles team, Taborga and Aaron Talarico, is ranked 20th.

A Little Home Cooking Goes A Long Way
Since moving to the Streich Courts for good prior to the 1996-1997 season, the Bears are 41-13 at home.

The Bears saw a 22-match home win streak come to an end with a 7-0 loss to then-No. 3 Duke (3/15). Before that, the Bears' last loss at home came April 17, 1998, when the Bears lost to Texas A&M in the final match of the regular season.

Between April 16, 1999, and March 10, 2001, the Baylor men's and women's tennis teams won a combined 34 straight matches at home (16 by the men, 18 by the women).

Big 12 = Big Success
Baylor has won 20 of its last 22 regular season matches against Big 12 opponents. The stretch includes a 13-match win streak, which ended March 23 at home against Kansas. Prior to that, the Bears' last defeat by a conference opponent was a a 4-3 loss April 22, 1999, on the road against then-No. 7 Texas.

Zoltan Papp won his first five singles matches and his first six doubles matches of the spring after returning from injury.

Freshman Matias Marin won his first seven singles matches to begin his collegiate career before losing to Duke's Joel Spicher (3/15). The seven-match win streak is the team's longest this season.

The doubles team of Csongor Bibza and Cory Ross won five in a row, lost once, then won their next six in a row. The six-match win streak is the team's longest doubles streak this season.

(Facing) Simply the Best
The Bears have 12 teams on their 2001 spring schedule which qualified for the 2000 NCAA Tournament and nine teams that began the spring ranked among the top 25.

Since entering the top 25 in Dec. 1998, Baylor is 17-14 against other top-25 teams. Six of the Bears' seven losses this season have come against top-20 teams. Baylor has only lost twice to a team not ranked among the top 20 since the start of the 1999 season.

The Bears are 28-2 against unranked teams under head coach Matt Knoll.

Double(s) Trouble
Baylor is a perfect 8-0 this season when winning the doubles point, but the team is 0-7 when the opponent takes the first point. The Bears have swept doubles five times and won all five matches.

Live Updates
Each of the Bears' last six home matches this season will be "webcast" at Click on the "Live Updates" link in the Live Coverage box on the front page of the site for scores.

Baylor in the Rankings
The Bears' No. 43 ranking (3/21) was the team's lowest at any point since Baylor entered the polls for the first time ever in December 1997 at No. 68.

The Baylor men's and women's tennis teams were both in the top 25 for 53 straight weeks, a streak which ended March 21 when the men fell to No. 43. The stretch began March 15, 2000, when the women moved up to No. 18.

Senior Mark Williams earned his first-ever career singles ranking in September (No. 68), and freshman Reiner Neurohr earned his first career singles ranking in December (No. 91).

The doubles team of Neurohr and Williams earned a ranking of No. 20 before even playing a match together. The pair moved as high as No. 4 in the nation(Dec. 2000).

Knoll-ing Right Along
Head coach Matt Knoll is 89-53 in his sixth season, 81-37 at Baylor (in his fifth season)... His 75th win at Baylor came on the road against Tulane (2/11)... Knoll was named to the Region VI Advisory Committee for the 2001 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships.

Climbing the Ladder
Several current Baylor players are making their way up the career leader charts:
* Csongor Bibza ranks fifth in school history in career singles wins (47) and sixth in career doubles wins (68), tied with Johannes Michalsky for fifth-place and two wins behind fourth-place Pawel Gajdzik.
* Mark Williams ranks second in the Baylor record books in career singles wins (88), six behind record-holder Johann Jooste. Williams already holds the career record for doubles wins (92).

Preseason Honors
The Baylor men earned two singles nominations and one doubles selection on the preseason all-Big 12 team. Senior all-American Mark Williams and 2000 Big 12 Freshman of the Year Zoltan Papp were named to the singles all-conference team, while the team of Williams and freshman Reiner Neurohr represented Baylor on the doubles listing.

Injury Troubles
The Bears lost 2000 Big 12 Freshman of the Year Zoltan Papp to an ACL tear suffered during the summer which forced him to miss the entire fall season... Senior Mark Williams suffered an abdominal injury against Mississippi State (1/27) which forced him to miss one match.



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