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Wolverines set to come on campus

Kate Grabarek | Friday, February 12, 2010

The Irish will travel to Ann Harbor, Mich., to square off with the Wolverines on Saturday with the opening set to begin at 6 p.m.

The Irish split their decisions with the Wolverines a year ago, defeating them at home, and then falling to them in the NCAA Tournament.

“Our matches with Michigan are always emotional,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We expect a big crowd and it will be exciting.

“They have two outstanding players at No. 1 and No. 2 in [junior] Jason Jung and [freshman] Evan King, a lefty,” Bayliss said. “We are pretty much evenly matched at the Nos. 3-6 positions and this one will come down to which team wins the three-setters.”

The Irish are coming off a tough loss to Duke in Durham last weekend and are looking to rebound and avenge their loss from last season in the NCAA Tournament.

“Our match with Duke was a disappointment from a competitive point of view,” Bayliss said. “We simply did not win enough big points. We held match points at No. 2 doubles to clinch the point, but didn’t reach out and take it. We had match points at No. 5, won the first set at No. 6, and served twice for the first set at No. 4, but came away with nothing to show for the effort.

“In short, Duke simply out-competed us, a reversal of what happened a year ago. They are a talented team, but we needed to do a better job at crunch time.”

Heading into the season the Irish were searching for answers in their doubles lineup and seem to have found some early in the season having already won the doubles point four out of six times.

“We served for the doubles point against No. 2 UVA and held match points for it against Duke,” Bayliss said. “We have some options here also with [junior] Matt Johnson, [freshman] Spencer Talmadge and [junior] Sean Tan, all of whom were not on the travel squad for Duke. Hopefully this will continue and become a key in more success as the season continues. David Anderson and Dan Stahl have become pretty competitive at No. 3, Havens-Fitzgerald have only one loss at No. 2, and Watt- Davis have shown some promise at No. 1.”

The Irish are now looking for some of their singles players to follow the lead of the doubles pairings to help the team win close matches.

The Irish will next travel to Seattle to take on Washington Feb. 20.