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#44 Irish Pull Out Thrilling 4-3 Win At Michigan State

Feb. 19, 2003

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The 44th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team was pushed to the limit by No. 70 Michigan State, but the Irish responded brilliantly, posting a 4-3 victory over the Spartans Wednesday afternoon at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. It marks the third win the last four matches for Notre Dame, which also has claimed 14 consecutive matches over Michigan State, including the last seven in a row at East Lansing.

Junior captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) won twice for Notre Dame, combining with sophomore Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) for an 8-2 win at No. 1 doubles and then logging a straight-set victory at No. 2 singles. Scott, who is ranked No. 119 in the nation, now has won four of his last five singles matches,

“Matt has become a real force for us lately,” Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss said. “He’s become a leader for us on the court and he’s a big reason why we have now won three of our last four matches.”

Despite the efforts of Scott and D’Amico, Notre Dame could not hold on as the Spartans rallied to win the doubles point. After a win at No. 3 doubles, the MSU pair of Adam Hourani and Jimmy McGuire pulled out a 9-7 win at No. 2 over the Irish duo of senior Brian Farrell (Lilburn, Ga./St. Pius X H.S.) and junior Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.). Neither tandem earned a service break in the deciding match until the Spartans broke Farrell’s serve at 8-7 to seize the victory.

Michigan State (8-2) put Notre Dame in a deeper hole early in singles play, as Farrell dropped a 6-1, 6-1 decision to Goran Topalo at the No. 4 flight. Scott earned a point back for the Irish with his 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Chris Mitchell, but MSU rebounded for its third point when D’Amico could not hold a one-set lead and lost to Cameron Marshall at the No. 3 spot by a 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 count.

With its mettle severely tested, Notre Dame (3-5) answered the challenge. Freshman Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) began the comeback at No. 5 singles with his fourth consecutive victory, polishing off MSU’s Eric Simonton in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5. Another Irish newcomer, junior Nicolas Lopez-Acevedo (Guayanbo, P.R./Colegio Marista) then knotted the match at 3-3 when he outlasted McGuire in the No. 6 singles contest, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

“Patrick really came through for us in both sets when it was crunch time,” Bayliss said. “Nicolas was also terrific in that third set. He mixed up his shots well and played a really solid match.”

That left matters in the hands of the No. 1 singles match between Haddock, ranked No. 72 in the nation, and MSU’s Andy Formanczyk. Both players were far from 100 percent in the match, and Formanczyk had missed the Spartans’ last contest (a 4-3 loss to Ball State) with an injury. Still, the pair waged a pitched battle, as Haddock won the first set, 6-4, and Formanczyk took the second set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5). The deciding set was close from the start, with neither player able to earn a service break. Haddock was forced to serve while trailing throughout the set, but held on to send the match into a tiebreaker. There, the Irish captain rose up and toppled his Spartan counterpart, 7-2, to cinch the victory for Notre Dame.

“I’m awfully proud of Luis for accepting responsibility with the match on the line,” Bayliss said. “For him to come through like that in the third set showed a great deal of class and character. Neither one of those men gave any ground during the match and Luis really came through in the end.”

The Irish will not have much time to enjoy their triumph, as they return to the court Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EST) against No. 40 Northwestern at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame has won 10 of the last 12 matches between the two rivals, including four in a row.

— ND —

#44 Notre Dame 4, #70 Michigan State 3

No. 1: #72 Luis Haddock (ND) d. Andy Formanczyk (MSU), 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-2)
No. 2: #119 Matthew Scott (ND) d. Chris Mitchell (MSU), 6-2, 6-3
No. 3: Cameron Marshall (MSU) d. Brent D’Amico (ND), 3-6, 6-0, 6-2
No. 4: Goran Topalo (MSU) d. Brian Farrell (ND), 6-1, 6-1
No. 5: Patrick Buchanan (ND) d. Eric Simonton (MSU), 6-4, 7-5
No. 6: Nicolas Lopez-Acevedo (ND) d. Jimmy McGuire (MSU), 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
Order of finish: 4, 2, 3, 5, 6, 1

No. 1: D’Amico/Scott (ND) d. Marshall/Simonton (MSU), 8-2
No. 2: Adam Hourani/McGuire (MSU) d. Farrell/Haddock (ND), 9-7
No. 3: Formanczyk/Mitchell (MSU) d. Buchanan/Ben Hatten (ND), 8-4
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2