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Men’s Tennis: Irish end losing streak

Meaghan Veselik | Thursday, April 15, 2010

Notre Dame snapped its three-match losing streak and got back over the .500-mark with a 5-2 home win over Ball State Wednesday.

“It’s always good to win and nice to get on the right side of that score,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We’re excited to be back on track. Ball State is a pretty scrappy team and they put up a good fight, especially at 1 and 2 [singles] today.”

The Irish (12-11) began the day by sweeping the three doubles contests to give them a jump-start over the Cardinals.

“Winning the doubles was good for us,” Bayliss said. “We have a pretty good record when we win the doubles point.”

The Irish are now 9-1 on the season when claiming the doubles point.

Opening the match with a win at No. 2 doubles for Notre Dame were junior Tyler Davis and sophomore Niall Fitzgerald with an 8-5 win. They were closely followed by sophomore Casey Watt and junior Stephen Havens, who won 8-5 at the top doubles spot to grab the doubles point for the Irish. Juniors David Anderson and Daniel Stahl closed the sweep with an 8-7 (7-4) victory at No. 3 doubles, fighting their way through a tiebreaker before moving onto the singles with the Irish leading 1-0.

Notre Dame’s singles matches were much of the same story except for losses at the top two positions — losses Bayliss thought were hard fought.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t win at those positions today, but the farther down you went the easier the wins came,” he said. ” I really think it speaks to the depth of our team.”

Anderson pushed the lead to 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 5 singles, putting him at 11-9 overall this season. Freshman Blas Moros continued his recent winning ways with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at No. 6 singles. Moros has now won nine of his last 10 matches.

Notre Dame clinched the match with Stahl’s win at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 6-2 — his 10th win at No. 3 singles this season. Sophomore Samuel Keeton, who moved up to No. 4 singles for the match, pushed the Irish lead to 5-0 with a victory in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.

The Cardinals got on the board with wins at Nos. 1 and 2 singles over Watt and Havens, respectively. Havens lost in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, while Watt went into a third set, ultimately losing 6-4, 7-5.

“Stephen [Havens] ran into a player that was pretty hot today, he had a big forehand and a big serve,” Bayliss said. “We lost at 1 and Casey didn’t have a lot of confidence in his forehand today and that hurt him, but that’s easily worked on.”

The Irish take to the road this weekend, traveling to Annapolis, Md., to face Navy Saturday in their final match before the Big East Championships.