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Men’s Tennis: Singles deliver victory

By Peter Steiner | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Forced to play indoors due to frigid temperatures, the Irish nevertheless defeated Ball State 5-2 in Muncie, Ind., on Monday.

Notre Dame (12-7) dropped the doubles point with losses in the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches but rebounded quickly to put the match away with five singles victories.

“We played a good match, particularly given the circumstances,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We had been practicing outside all week in anticipation of better weather and we got a freaking cold day in Muncie and we were forced indoors. … It was a little bit of an adjustment, but our guys handled it pretty well.”

Notre Dame won the match behind the play of its top four singles players, as all four players won in straight sets. Sophomore Wyatt McCoy returned to action from a wrist injury and defeated Cardinals junior Austin Smith, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 6 singles to secure the fifth point for the Irish.

“Given that they lost the doubles points, the top four guys came out and really took care of business and made it a non-match pretty quickly,” Bayliss said. “We were really in charge from the get-go on all seven courts.”

Irish senior Michael Moore lost the only singles match for the Irish in a closely contested two-set match. The senior dropped the first set tiebreaker, 7-5, and was unable to overcome Cardinals sophomore Patrick Elliot in the second set, losing it 7-5.

“Michael Moore did lose, but it was 7-6, 7-5, and he had opportunities,” Bayliss said. “He served for the first set twice. … [He had some] bad luck, and a couple of shots here and a couple of shots there and he might have won.”

While the Irish controlled the singles matches from start to finish, the same was not true in doubles. Irish freshman Alex Lawson and junior Billy Pecor took care of business at No. 2 doubles, winning 8-3. But No. 1 doubles and No. 3 doubles both lost their matches by one service break.

“In the doubles, we were very sluggish at No. 1 and No. 3,” Bayliss said. “I give Ball State credit for competing well. Our guys really dropped their standards that we’ve come to expect and hopefully we’ll get that back this weekend.

“Overall, a good singles effort and a poor doubles effort.”

After three weeks of missing at least one player due to injury, the Irish are back to full strength. The returns of McCoy and Irish junior Ryan Bandy come at an opportune time, as Notre Dame will host three separate matches this weekend.

“Ryan Bandy was a little bit iffy yesterday [against Ball State], but I think he’ll be fine this weekend,” Bayliss said. “Wyatt McCoy is back and he played and won in straight sets and he’s been out for about three weeks. … I anticipate being 100 percent and ready to go.”

The Irish will showcase their full-strength roster against SMU on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Eck Pavilion.

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu