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Men’s Tennis: Squad falls to Seminoles

Kate Grabarek | Thursday, January 29, 2009

No. 30 Notre Dame dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 11 Florida State Wednesday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

The Irish fell behind early by losing the doubles point.

While the home team grabbed early leads on all three doubles courts, the Seminoles tied the score back up and made the Irish fight.

Freshman Niall Fitzgerald and sophomore Matt Johnson were the No. 3 doubles team for the Irish in the match, and after falling behind 4-1 early, fought back and made the match close before falling 9-7 to the Seminoles doubles team.

“Our freshmen are very talented yet untested,” head coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Casey Watt is a tremendous shot maker, as is Niall Fitzgerald. Sam Keeton has the ability to flat out rip the ball from the backcourt. Each has skills that rank up there with some of the better players we have ever had here. The question with our young guys is whether or not they can each adopt the practice and daily life habits.”

Stephen Havens and Casey Watt also had a tight doubles match in which the lead shift back and forth before the Irish pair fell to the No. 47 doubles team of Andrew Bailey and Maciek Sykut in a tiebreaker.

The Irish were able to secure one doubles win on the day when No. 37 senior Brett Helgeson and sophomore Tyler Davis teamed up to defeat the No. 23 doubles team of Jean Yves Aubone and Clint Bowles by a final score of 8-7 (8-6).

No. 112 Irish sophomore Dan Stahl fell to No. 72 Sykut by a final of 6-1, 6-3.

Fitzgerald was the next to come off the court after falling 6-2, 6-3.

“Fitzgerald is brimming with talent,” Bayliss said. “The No. 5-6 spots will likely come from a nucleus of Tyler Davis, Sam Keeton, David Anderson, and Niall Fitzgerald, with Matt Johnson right there with them. Daivs and Keeton are lefties; Anderson is very solid.”

Keeton earned the first Irish singles win over Bailey by a score of 7-5, 6-2. Watt played the No. 4 singles match for the fourth straight match and won by a score of 6-4, 6-2.

Havens took on No. 29 Bowles and lost 7-6, 6-4.

No. 20 Helgeson matched up against No. 30 Aubone. Helgeson battled with Aubone all the way through the match through three sets before winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

The Irish will travel to Tulsa, Okla., for the ITA National Indoors on Saturday.