The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Irish win one, lose one at ITA National Invite

Kate Grabarek | Monday, February 2, 2009

No. 32 Notre Dame dropped its first match of two on the weekend to No. 12 Tulsa at the ITA National Indoors.

The Irish dropped the doubles points with two 8-4 losses at one and three doubles.

Tulsa’s fourth-ranked doubles team of Arnau Bruges and Philip Stevens were able to take down the Irish’s No. 37 ranked team of senior Brett Helgeson and sophomore Tyler Davis.

At three doubles freshman Niall Fitzgerald and sophomore Matt Johnson fell to Alberto Sottocorno and Ashley Watling by the same score.

“Casey Watt and Niall Fitzgerald are great shot makers,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Sam Keeton has the ability to flat out rip the ball from the back court. Each has skills that rank up there with some of the better players we have had here. The question with our guys is whether or not they can each adopt the practice and daily life habits.”

At No. 2 doubles, freshman Casey Watt and sophomore Steven Havens were able to defeat Marko Ballok and Ross Cunningham in an 8-1 win.

Fitzgerald was able to earn a win at singles over Watling by a score of 6-1, 6-4. Keeton continued his unbeaten spring season improving to 4-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ballok which moved the overall match score to 2-1 in Notre Dame’s favor.

The Irish could not hold on, losing at one, two and four singles to lose the match 4-2.

No. 112 sophomore Dan Stahl was not able to finish his match against No. 91 Stephens which would have finished in a third set.

Notre Dame v. Texas Tech

In their consolation match, the Irish were able to take down the No. 20 team in the nation, Texas Tech.

Again at No. 3 doubles Fitzgerald and Johnson were able to come out on top in this match defeating David Gonzalez and Milos Kustudija by a score of 8-4.

Helgeson and Davis fell again in this match losing to the No. 7 team of Raony Carvahlo and Christian Rojmar 8-5.

Watt and Havens won at No. 2 doubles by a score of 9-7.

“Fitzgerald is brimming with talent,” Bayliss said. “The No. 5-6 spots will likely come from a nucleus of Tyler Davis, Sam Keeton, David Anderson and Niall Fitzgerald, with Matt Johnson right there with them. Davis and Keeton are lefties, Anderson is very solid.”

Keeton was able to defeat Gonzalez by a score of 7-6 (8), 7-5 in the first match finished. Keeton’s record is now 5-0 on the young season.

Havens was able to defeat Sinisa Markovic by a score of 7-6 (4) 7-5

Watt was able to win at No. 4 singles over Michael Breler by a score of 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to clinch the match for the Irish.

Helgeson, Stahl, and Fitzgerald’s matches went unfinished.

The Irish will now host the Duke Blue Devils and Toledo on Feb. 8 at the Eck Tennis Center. Duke will begin at noon and Toledo will begin at 6.