Men’s Tennis: New line-up yields mixed results
Sam Gans | Sunday, February 5, 2012
The No. 30 Irish started this weekend with a 6-1 win at No. 39 Wake Forest on Friday before falling to No. 10 Duke 6-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Notre Dame (5-3) dominated the Demon Deacons (4-3) early, winning all three doubles matches to take the doubles point and winning five of the six singles matches. Irish coach Bobby Bayliss was particularly impressed with his squad’s ability to handle a difficult environment.
“Any time you go on the road, you’re concerned about making adjustments and whether our guys will handle the crowd well,” Bayliss said. “And so I think from that end we did a reasonably good job.”
However, the Irish were unable to keep the momentum going against the talented Blue Devils (6-0). Notre Dame kept many matches close early, but Duke pulled away to earn the win.
Irish senior Sam Keeton was the only singles winner for Notre Dame on Sunday, after being the only player on the Irish to lose against Wake Forest. Sophomore Greg Andrews also dropped his first singles match of the season against the Blue Devils.
Bayliss made a noticeable change in his doubles lineup for this weekend by teaming seniors Casey Watt and Niall Fitzgerald together, along with junior Spencer Talmadge with Andrews. Previously, Fitzgerald had been paired with Talmadge and Watt with Andrews. The switch provided mixed results, with both groups winning Friday, but only Talmadge and Andrews prevailing Sunday.
“We really felt we needed to mix up our doubles. We had lost the doubles point several times in matches where we felt we could have won it, so we took the same two teams and we just switched personnel,” Bayliss said. “Spencer and Greg are right now playing great doubles … Casey and Niall have some nice things together, some nice chemistry, but [are] a little bit inconsistent on the returns and [did not have] a high-enough first-serve percentage today.”
The Irish return to action when they travel to No. 62 Northwestern on Tuesday.
Contact Sam Gans at firstname.lastname@example.org