Feb. 3, 2002
EVANSTON, Ill. – The 10th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to move to 6-1 with a 5-2 road victory over #46 Northwestern Sunday afternoon at the newly-dedicated Combe Tennis Center. The Irish lost the doubles point, but took five of the six singles matches to gain the win and their best start since 1997. Northwestern lost for the first time in five matches this season. Notre Dame will return to action on Thursday, taking part in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky. The Irish are scheduled to open play with a match against seventh-ranked Pepperdine at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker in the final match on court before Northwestern claimed a 1-0 lead. Irish seniors Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) and Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia), ranked sixth in the nation, gained an 8-5 win at No. 1, but the Wildcats won the remaining two matches. Josh Axler and Thomas Hanus notched an 8-4 win at No. 3 to set up the point-clinching victory by Jackie Jenkins and Chuck Perrin at No. 2 by a 9-8 (8-6) score.
Smith, ranked 88th, tied the match with a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles, but Hanus immediately put Northwestern ahead again with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory at No. 2. The Irish claimed the final four matches on court to win the match. Sophomore Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, Puerto Rico) finished next with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 win at No. 4 and senior Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla.) won 7-5, 6-4 at No. 6 to set up the clinching victory. Sophomore Matthew Scott (Paris, France) provided it, registering a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win at No. 5, snapping Axler’s 12-match winning streak in dual matches. Scott has won all seven of his singles matches this spring and 13 of his last 14, dating back to last fall. 95th-ranked Taborga then won 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 at No. 1. He has won nine of his last 11 matches.
#10 Notre Dame 5, #46 Northwestern 2
No. 1: #95 Javier Taborga (ND) d. Ryan Edlefsen (NU) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
No. 2: Thomas Hanus (NU) d. Aaron Talarico (ND) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
No. 3: #88 Casey Smith (ND) d. Jamie Sahara (NU) 6-3, 6-0
No. 4: #83 Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Jackie Jenkins (NU) 7-6 (9-7), 6-4
No. 5: Matthew Scott (ND) d. Josh Axler (NU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
No. 6: Andrew Laflin (ND) d. Chuck Perrin (NU) 7-5, 6-4
No. 1: #6 Smith/Taborga (ND) d. Edlefsen/Joost Hol (NU) 8-5
No. 2: Jenkins/Perrin (NU) d. James Malhame/Ashok Raju (ND) 9-8 (8-6)
No. 3: Axler/Hanus (NU) d. Brent D’Amico/Talarico (ND) 8-4