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Irish hope to stop Hokies

Kate Gales | Friday, April 2, 2004

The Irish hope to turn it all around for the Hokies this weekend, as the No. 37 Irish look to break the seven-match win streak of No. 54 Virginia Tech Sunday.After a 4-3 win over Ball State last weekend, the Irish have had several days to get back to full speed. The illnesses of Luis Haddock and Matthew Scott, the team’s two top singles players, made a win over Mid-American conference powerhouse Ball State more challenging. “We’ve been playing outside this week,” junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico said.”We practiced for the last three days and had a day off today.”We’ve also gone inside just in case we play indoors, we’re just trying to prepare for both of them.”Additionally, the team worked on doubles, which have been inconsistent this season. The Irish dropped the point against Ball State, with only Haddock and Scott winning a match, at No. 2.”I’m pretty sure [Haddock and Scott] will play,” D’Amico said. “Everyone will be playing this weekend, for sure.”The Hokies boast a 12-8 record and feature singles powerhouse Andreas Laulund, ranked No. 57 nationally.”I don’t think we’re preparing for anything specifically, just the whole team,” said D’Amico, noting that both he and Scott have faced Laulund in the past.However, the team will be depending on its younger players for wins this weekend. Stephen Bass has won 10 of his last 12 matches, improving to 14-4 in dual matches and 20-6 overall playing at No. 3 and 4. Ryan Keckely, who battled nagging ankle injuries at the beginning of the season, clinched the win against Ball State for the Irish under considerable pressure. Barry King and Eric Langenkamp also won matches to put the Irish on the board. The Irish played Virginia Tech twice last year, winning 5-2 both times.A third straight victory against the Hokies – that’s what the Irish are all about.