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Men’s Tennis: Watt leads Irish in singles matches

Kate Grabarek | Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Notre Dame has come through the fall season with a strong team that returns all of its starters from last year’s squad and has added talented freshmen to the roster.

“The thing that stands out for us this fall has been our depth,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We have 10 to 12 players who have demonstrated with quality wins that each is capable of playing and winning at a No. 5 to No. 6 level on a top 25 team. It is difficult to project now what our lineup could be, but at least two of our freshmen have shown that they can win at an elite level.”

“Both [freshmen] Greg Andrews and Billy Pecor have wins that are very impressive so far. Both are very aggressive off the ground and made it to the finals of a national championship a year ago at the junior level. Dan Stahl played brilliantly at times against Michigan’s Evan King last week.”

Junior Casey Watt will once again lead the team at No. 1 singles. Watt advanced to the semifinals of last week’s ITA Midwest Regonial at Notre Dame in a performance that included an upset of Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan in the quarterfinals.

“Buchanan had won the US National Juniors and the Junior US Open in 2009, so that is a pretty big win,” Bayliss said.

“Casey can win big for us high in the lineup if he becomes more adept at handling shorter mid-court balls and finishing better at the net, but this is a challenge for him. He certainly will be challenged here by the level that Stephen Havens has shown this fall.”

In their final event of the fall season, the Irish will again split the team in two, sending half with Bayliss to the William & Mary Invitational, and the other half with associate head coach Ryan Sachire to the Alabama Invitational in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Havens and Pecor will travel to Virginia with Bayliss, accompanied by seniors Dan Stahl and David Anderson, juniors Niall Fitzgerald and Daven Brodess, and sophomores Blas Moros and Spencer Talmadge.

Andrews will travel to Alabama with fellow freshmen Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley, along with seniors Matt Johnson, Bryan Kelly, Sean Tan and Tyler Davis and junior Sam Keeton.

The Irish will look to have strong showings in both events before they return to Notre Dame to prepare for their spring season opener at William & Mary on Jan. 22.