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MEN’S Tennis: Notre Dame falls to No. 34 Texas and No. 9 Duke

Joe Meixell | Monday, February 7, 2005

After flying to a 6-0 start, the Notre Dame men’s tennis team was grounded this weekend.

The No. 25 Irish (6-2) dropped two matches against ranked foes – a 4-3 decision to No. 34 Texas (2-0) Friday and a 6-1 decision to No. 9 Duke (3-1) Sunday.

Playing their third straight match against a ranked foe, the Irish lost the doubles point but jumped out to an early 3-1 lead against the Longhorns. Despite closing out their singles victories in just two sets, Notre Dame couldn’t pick up that vital fourth point.

“We played very well against Texas,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “They’re a great team, and they’re going to be a top-25 team this year. I think we played as well against Texas as we’ve played all year. I didn’t have any reservations about that match at all.”

Sophomore Barry King, who won two matches against ranked foes in as many matches, upset the No. 53 player in the nation, Texas’s Roger Gubser. King won a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 decision in the No. 3 slot. King is now 4-1 against ranked opponents this season.

“He had a great weekend for us,” Bayliss said. “Roger Gubser is a senior and been around a lot, played a lot of good tennis. It was a big win for Barry. Barry’s serving well. Earlier in the year, he had some troubles with his serve, but he’s picked that up. Gubser stayed back and really moved Barry around the court. Barry had to hit big to keep from being pushed around and he did that and he really took it to Gubser.”

The match came down to getting a single victory from senior Brent D’Amico. D’Amico, who played at the No. 1 slot for the first time this season, dropped a close 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 loss to Texas junior Callum Beale.

“[The match was between] two pretty evenly matched teams, and it could have gone either way,” Bayliss said. “I thought we played hard and played some smart tennis. It was a toss of a coin right there at the end.”

After losing only one of their doubles points in their first six wins, the Irish found themselves in unfamiliar territory against both Texas and Duke.

“The doubles point is a big momentum point, and with Texas it was very close,” Bayliss said. “We had our chances and obviously it affected the outcome because we lost 4-3. Had we won the doubles point, I’m pretty confident we would have won the match.”

While the Texas match came down to the wire, the Duke contest proved to be hardly that. The Notre Dame doubles team of sophomore Stephen Bass and King dropped a close 9-7 doubles match.

King provided the sole Irish point, again providing an upset at the No. 3 slot against Duke’s Stephen Amritraj, ranked No. 106 in the nation. King won the decision 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

“I felt Barry King played a great match at No. 3, beating Stephen Amritraj,” Bayliss said. “I thought Patrick Buchanan played well at No. 6 … Patrick lost the tie-breaker for that particular match but he had the momentum and probably would have had an advantage in the third set. Beyond that, they beat us up pretty badly in a couple spots and a couple of the matches were over quickly.”

With a grueling stretch of four games against four nationally-ranked opponents behind them, the Irish can regroup before their next match against Marquette at home Sunday.

“We’ve played four pretty good teams in a row,” Bayliss said. “We could probably use a little rest right now, and we’ll benefit from being able to regroup. When you play as many good teams in a row as we have, little cracks appear in your game and you need some team to regroup and shore up a couple things that have shown up.

“We’re going to take advantage of that for the next ten days or so.”