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Men’s Tennis: Team rallies for road victory

Peter Steiner | Monday, March 4, 2013

Against No. 59 Wisconsin on Sunday, the No. 29 Irish fought back from two-point deficit to take the remaining five singles matches and defeat the Badgers, 5-2.

Notre Dame (7-5) got off to a slow start when the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams both lost by an 8-4 margin. After dropping the doubles point to the Badgers (7-2), the Irish then lost the first singles match off the court, as Badgers senior Alexander Kostanov defeated junior Billy Pecor 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles.

“I was disappointed in our level at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “I thought we lacked aggressiveness and the ability to take charge of points and allowed things to happen to us.

“And unfortunately, I think Billy played probably his worst match of the year [Sunday] and was off the court first. So we were down 2-0.”

The Irish recovered quickly from the two-point disadvantage though, as junior Greg Andrews and sophomore Wyatt McCoy responded with victories at No. 1 and No. 5 singles. Senior Michael Moore added a 6-2, 6-4 victory at No. 6 singles to give the Irish a 3-2 lead.

“Everyone else really had to pick up the slack quickly and at that point, I’m very proud of some of the ways guys played,” Bayliss said. “I thought Michael Moore did a great job of doing what he needed to do, nothing spectacular, but being aggressive and at the same time, playing under control. … Wyatt McCoy was his usually scrappy self and had enough offense at times to really frustrate his opponent.

“[Greg Andrews] won quickly, Wyatt won quickly and Michael won quickly all in the first sets so we were right back in the match.”

Notre Dame never relinquished its momentum and put the match away with wins by freshman Quentin Monaghan and senior Blas Moros at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively.

Monaghan clinched the overall match with his fifteenth singles victory of the year. After losing the first set, Moros rebounded and won 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“Blas Moros did a great job of composing himself after losing the first set and coming back and winning somewhat decisively the last two,” Bayliss said. “Quentin Monaghan clinched the match for us. He continues to do great things for a young guy. His poise under pressure is surprising and refreshing.”

The win gives Notre Dame its second true road victory of the season. The Irish are 4-5 this spring season against teams in the top-50, with three of these losses coming against teams ranked in the top 10.

“Obviously, due to the schedule we play, every win is a good win,” Bayliss said. “Winning this match, coming back from a 2-0 deficit, winning all five of the remaining matches – four of them in straight sets – certainly gives us plenty of momentum and the feeling that we are prepared to play a good match against Illinois.”

The Irish face No. 17 Illinois on Tuesday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion at 6 p.m.

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu