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



Men’s Tennis: Doubles teams continue to provide crucial victories for Irish

Kate Grabarek | Thursday, February 17, 2011

The No. 25 Irish have earned all the available doubles points in each of their matches except one this season, something Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said has been and will continue to be key for their success this season.

“All of our doubles teams have made good strides this year, but particularly at No. 2 and No. 3 where we have become pretty darn good,” Bayliss said. “We knew that [seniors] Stephen [Havens] and Tyler [Davis] were going to be a potent combo because they have good skills and plenty of experience, but the maturation of [junior] Niall [Fitzgerald] and [sophomore] Spencer [Talmadge] has been great to see. They are doing a terrific job of reading returns and cutting balls off at the net.”

The Irish are coming off of two big wins last weekend over Michigan State and Marquette. They claimed the doubles points in both matches.

The only time this season the Irish did not earn the doubles points was against No. 1 Virginia.

The Irish returned their full varsity starting lineup from last season which Bayliss said is helping their improved doubles play. He said they are also becoming more comfortable around the net with the increased levels of experience they have throughout the lineup.

“We are playing better doubles this season because we return all of last year’s starters and the experience has been helpful, particularly in making match adjustments,” Bayliss said.

Bayliss said adding a new addition to the lineup in freshman Greg Andrews has also helped the lineup get a new perspective.

“Greg Andrews has been all that we expected and we expected a lot,” Bayliss said. “He has been rock solid and demonstrated poise in the face of significant adversity.”

The bottom portion of the doubles lineup has also been very strong for the Irish early in the season, but Bayliss said they are looking to get more wins out of the No. 1 singles spot to bolster the lineup further.

He added that winning at the top is difficult as you are always facing the other teams best players.

“Nine matches into our schedule Casey Watt has already played several players who are going to be All Americans this year, as has Stephen Havens,” Bayliss said.

The Irish will try to continue their winning ways in doubles in both upcoming matches when they host Michigan and North Carolina this weekend at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.