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Men’s Tennis: Irish win, lose at OSU regionals

Meaghan Veselik | Monday, February 1, 2010

The Irish rebounded for a 4-1 win Sunday against No. 51 New Mexico after dropping a 4-3 decision Saturday to No. 35 Tulsa at the Ohio State regional of the ITA Team Indoor Championship.

“After the tough loss to Tulsa it was gut-check time on Sunday against New Mexico,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “It would have been easy to pout and not show up on Sunday, but I am proud of the grit we showed today.”

No. 30 Notre Dame (3-2) swept the doubles division Sunday. Singles wins from No. 18 sophomore Casey Watt, junior Stephen Havens and junior David Anderson to clinch the win Sunday and come out 4-1.

Saturday saw the Irish take off to an early 3-1 lead with strong doubles play and wins at No. 1 and No. 5 singles.

“We could have competed better on Saturday against Tulsa,” Bayliss said. “After winning the doubles point I felt that we were in great shape, but they quickly turned into a war and four-hour match. I give some of Tulsa’s guys a lot of credit, but I am certain that a number of our players would like this opportunity back. We will surely need to be tougher if we are to meet most of the goals that we have set for ourselves.”

Junior captain Tyler Davis and Watt fell 8-4 at first doubles to Tulsa’s Ashley Watling and Phillip Stephens while the No. 2 duo of Havens and sophomore Niall Fitzgerald took down Alastair Barnes and Marko Ballock 8-4. Anderson and junior Dan Stahl kept Notre Dame’s lead growing as they won over Rusty Turpin and Grant Ive at No. 3 doubles.

The Golden Hurricane started cutting in on the Irish lead in the singles division. Although freshman Blas Moros, ranked No. 74, beat out Ive 6-2, 6-0 at No. 5 singles to give the Irish another point, Hurricane victories at Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 6 singles put them on top.

Watt dropped the first set of his singles match to Stephens 6-1, he rallied to win the second and third sets 6-3, 6-2. Havens fell 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) to Watling at the No. 2 position and Stahl fell 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 to Barnes at No. 3. At No. 4, Fitzgerald lost 6-0, 6-4 to Ballok and freshman Michael Moore lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to Tristan Jackson at No. 6 singles. Stahl’s battle against Barnes closed out the match and allowed Tulsa to advance.

Notre Dame started the morning off strong with No. 3 doubles of freshman Spencer Talmadge and Anderson defeating New Mexico’s Joe Wood and Conor Berg to jumpstart the Irish lead. No. 1 doubles of Watt and Davis paired up to take down Phil Anderson and Carl Ho, 8-6. Havens and Fitzgerald rounded out the doubles with another 8-6 win over Ben Dunbar and Jadon Phillips to finish the Irish sweep.

Watt led the Irish singles in the No.1 position with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Ho as Havens defeated Phillips 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. Anderson won at No. 5 over Wood, 6-0, 6-4 as No. 3 and No. 6 singles of Blas Moros and Samuel Keeton remained unfinished as Notre Dame won the match.

“We learned that we need to finish teams off when we get on top,” Bayliss said. “That cost us the Tulsa match. We also learned that we are pretty deep. Not many teams can replace two starters with no notice and be successful in both positions. We know that we are good enough to become a very good team, but that there is much work to be done before that happens.”

The Irish will return to the courts Sunday, Feb. 7, as they travel to Durham, N.C., to take on Duke.