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Men’s Tennis: Squad split up for two matchups

Kate Grabarek | Monday, November 8, 2010

Concluding the final weekend of team competition in the fall season, a split squad competed and excelled in both the Alabama Invitational and the William and Mary Invitational. Senior Stephen Havens finished the weekend undefeated in Virginia, where the Irish took on Maryland, the College of Charleston and host William and Mary.

“Maryland is a middle of the road team in the ACC with a lot of foreign players,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We won 21 of 26 singles matches and had strong performances from [freshman] Billy Pecor and Stephen Havens. [Senior] Dan Stahl was injured and did not play on day one, but did participate the last two days of the tournament.”

Havens started off the first day of the tournament strong by earning two straight-set singles wins. Junior Niall Fitzgerald also had a strong first day in Virginia, bringing in two singles wins to complement Havens’ success.

Pecor and sophomore Spencer Talmadge also had two wins on day one for the Irish.

In Alabama, senior Matt Johnson took down Joshua Irazabal of Stillman in straight sets before defeating Adam Lawton of Virginia Tech in a three-set match.

Fellow senior Bryan Kelly also managed a three-set win over Chatanooga’s Matt Harris, while freshman Matt Dooley came up with two three-set wins in Alabama for the Irish. In doubles, freshman Greg Andrews teamed up with senior captain Tyler Davis, while freshman Ryan Bandy and senior Sean Tan teamed up. Both teams took home victories.

On day two in Virginia, Havens was pushed to a three-set match before claiming a victory in his first match of the day.

“Stephen is a very experienced player,” Bayliss said. “He has played [No.] 2 singles for us the past two years against some tough competition, and his maturity is showing through. Before, he would push a set to a tie breaker and then lose in the tie breaker. Now he pulls out the tie breaker.”

Stahl and sophomore Blas Moros also picked up wins on the day for Notre Dame. Fitzgerald and Talmadge teamed up to win two doubles matches against tough competition as well.

“Doubles wasn’t quite as commanding as I would have liked,” Bayliss said, “But [associate head coach] Ryan [Sachire] does have half the team in Alabama. Coming into the fall, I felt we needed to improve our doubles, and it is still a work in progress. I now feel I have some strong ideas for good possibilities for the spring.”

Havens and Pecor earned all-tournament honors in Virginia after teaming up to go undefeated in doubles action.

The Irish will open their spring season back in Virginia as they take on William and Mary on Jan. 22, 2011.