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Irish badger Wisconsin into submission in 5-2 win

Kate Gales | Monday, February 16, 2004

True to their mascot’s name, unranked Wisconsin badgered No. 50 Notre Dame early in the match this weekend, but still fell to the Irish by a score of 5-2.

The Badgers won the initial point of the match, taking advantage of Irish coach Bobby Bayliss’ revamped doubles lineup. Although all three teams looked dominant at the beginning, only senior tri-captains Luis Haddock and Matthew Scott managed to leave the courts with a win. The duo defeated Wisconsin’s Alex Conti and Scott Green 8-1 at No. 2.

However, the No. 8 team of David Hippee and Alexander Kasarov beat junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico and freshman Ryan Keckley 9-8 (7-4), and Ward Bortz and Lachezar Kasarov defeated Paul Hidaka and Eric Langenkamp in a hard-fought match 9-8 (7-4).

Bayliss attributed the losses to his team’s failure to execute fundamentals.

“It’s disappointing to start off down 1-0 with all the work we’ve done in the past week,” Bayliss said. “However, a lot of guys did a great job of stepping out and taking control of their [singles] matches.”

The loss of the doubles point seemed to add a sense of urgency to the singles matches. Bayliss altered the lineup, moving Scott and Stephen Bass to No. 1 and 3 and Haddock and D’Amico to No. 2 and 4, respectively.

The changes worked well for three of the four players. Scott lost a tough match to Alexander Kasarov at No. 1 with a score of 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 1-0 (10-5). However, Haddock easily defeated No. 2 David Hippe 6-3, 6-1, Bass won over Alex Conti 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3, and Brent D’Amico clinched the match at No. 4 with a score of 6-4, 6-4 over Scott Green.

Barry King, a freshman, struggled in the first set against Ward Bortz at No. 5. In a true show of determination, he went on to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, and Eric Langenkamp easily took No. 6 Lachezar Kasarox 6-0, 6-2.

“The thing I’m proud of is that we really showed that we could take charge of singles right away,” Bayliss said. “We had to break [Wisconsin’s] momentum, which we did right away.”

Starting Saturday, the Irish face six big matches in an 11-day period.

“We’ll keep practices very efficient,” Bayliss said. “We’ll work on things we need to work on, and get everyone in and out so they’re ready to go.”

The Irish next travel to Northwestern Saturday and return home to face Southern Methodist Sunday.