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



Men’s Tennis: Irish finish fall slate in Virginia

Kate Grabarek | Friday, November 6, 2009

Notre Dame will round out its fall practice schedule when it travels to compete in the William and Mary Invitational this weekend in Williamsburg, Va.

They will face Maryland, the College of Charleston and William & Mary.

“Kyle Spencer is new at Maryland and is going to make a difference there,” coach Bobby Bayliss said. “W&M has added several new foreign players to their roster.”

The Irish are coming off of a great showing throughout much of the fall season, including sophomore Casey Watt’s run to the finals of the ITA Regionals in October.

Bayliss noted that Watt’s performance made his presence known on more of a national stage and has the potential to become an elite college player.

“Casey had a significant breakthrough at the ITA Regionals,” Bayliss said. “Reaching the finals in a field that included some of the better players in the country is a terrific achievement. Beating Justin Kronauge [Ohio State] is quite an accomplishment, as he had been the No. 1 player in the US in the juniors several years ago. His win over Marek Michalika [Wisconsin] is significant because [Michalika] beat Brett Helgeson twice last year. He clearly is becoming more aggressive and getting to the net more than a year ago. He always had the heart and wheels of a champion, but he now is getting some new weapons which allow him options he previously lacked.”

While the Irish got a stellar performance out of Watt, they are still looking for some new doubles combinations to help secure the doubles point more often and will try out some new combinations this weekend.

Junior Dan Stahl will also get to see some action at No. 1 singles this weekend as the Irish continue to search for Helgeson’s replacement.

Sophomore Niall Fitzgerald will make his only appearance of the fall season.

“Blas Moros and Michael Moore have been very impressive this fall and I am anxious to see them in this field. Blas has added to his serve and Michael is becoming more comfortable coming forward to finish points,” Bayliss said. “Both can be impact freshmen this year. Sam Keeton had a great weekend in Boston in early October. We think he can continue his growth now that he is coming in to the net more because he really controls play well off the ground.”

Bayliss said junior David Anderson’s back has improved, as has junior Matt Johnson’s groin injury.

The Irish will take the rest of the semester off before hosting William and Mary to open their season at the Eck Tennis Pavilion January 22.