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Men’s Tennis: Irish fall to Cardinals in conference tourney

Kate Grabarek | Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Irish will wrap up its season with an appearance in the NCAA Tournament when they face Wisconsin in the first round today. The Irish head into the postseason match after finishing in second place behind Louisville in the Big East championships.

“While I was proud of the way we competed against South Florida in the semis because they had beaten us during the season, the goal was to win the championship and we did not reach that goal,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “The USF match was played at the South Bend Racket Club, rather than at the Eck. This presented some problems for us in that several of the courts were much faster than ours.”

Unable to adjust back to the home courts, the Irish fell to Louisville 4-0 in the finals.

“The match against Louisville was a lot closer than the score,” Bayliss said. “We had excellent chances to win each of the unfinished matches, but a closer score was not our goal, and they clearly deserved to win. Give them [Louisville] credit, as they have stayed at or near the top 10 all year long.”

Although a conference title was out of reach, the Irish turned in another successful season under Bayliss’ direction in his 23rd season at Notre Dame. A key for the Irish has been the emergence of the bottom of their lineup, which has pulled out some big wins for the Irish.
Included in this group were sophomore Samuel Keeton, juniors Daniel Stahl and David Anderson and freshman Blas Moros.

“Sam Keeton has learned to get to the net and finish points, which makes him a threat to beat anyone he plays in the NCAA Tournament,” Bayliss said. “Dan Stahl held his own at No. 3 and showed significant improvement in doubles. Blas Moros got on quite a roll near the end of the season. David became a very solid point as the season developed.”

Losing only two seniors and adding a talented group of recruits, the Irish look to be even stronger next season regardless of the outcome at the NCAAs.

“Adding at least two freshmen who are capable of contributing immediately makes playing time pretty competitive for everyone,” Bayliss said. “That can really galvanize a team, but it can also discourage some, so handling that situation well will be critical for us. Clearly I am looking for everyone to buy in and make next year a special one.”