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



Men’s Tennis: Notre Dame drops back-to-back matches

Chris Michalski | Monday, March 23, 2009

The Irish dropped back-to-back matches over the weekend, getting blown out 4-0 by Boise State and losing a close match 4-3 to Wisconsin.

Irish coach Bob Bayliss described Saturday’s loss to the Broncos as Notre Dame’s “worst match of the year.”

Boise State started off by taking the doubles point, putting the Irish in an early hole. The singles matches didn’t go any better for the Irish, as No. 22 senior Brett Helgeson, sophomore Stephen Havens, and freshman Niall Fitzgerald all dropped their matches in straight sets. The rest of the singles matches were abandoned as Boise State had clinched a 4-0 victory.

“Against Boise State we seemed to be missing something,” Bayliss said. “Perhaps they played too well for us, but I felt that from top to bottom we played soft, with the exception of Dan Stahl, who would likely have won had the matches been played out.”

The Irish fared slightly better the next day against the Badgers, and Bayliss said he felt the effort in that match was “where it needed to be,” but the Irish could still not muster a win.

Doubles teams of Helgeson/Tyler Davis and Fitzgerald/Matt Johnson both lost 6-8, giving the Badgers an early 1-0 lead heading into singles. After Helgeson lost in straight sets at first singles, the Irish found themselves in an early 2-0 hole. Extraordinary efforts from Havens, freshman Casey Watt, and sophomore Daniel Stahl at second through fourth singles sent the Irish back on top 3-2.

Needing just one win at fifth or sixth singles, the Irish couldn’t quite finish out the comeback. Sophomore David Anderson lost in a first set tiebreaker and could not rebound for a win at fifth singles, while Fitzgerald could not handle the left serve-and-volley of Wisconsin’s Michael Muskievicz.

“This match exposed our weaknesses and serves as a challenge for us to find solutions to our areas of concern,” Bayliss said. “Our doubles needs to improve.”

The Irish will head home and face off against a Big East foe, South Florida, for the first time outdoors. The match is scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at 1 p.m.