Jan. 29, 2002
DURHAM, N.C. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team used four consecutive singles victories to rally from a 2-0 deficit to defeat 10th-ranked Duke 4-3 at the Sheffield Tennis Center Tuesday afternoon. After losing the doubles point and at No. 1 singles, the Irish posted victories at Nos. 3, 2 and 5 singles to take a 3-2 lead. Sophomore Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, Puerto Rico), trailing Alex Bose 4-2 in the third set at No. 4 singles, then won four straight games to win his match and clinch the Irish triumph.
“We showed a lot of resolve today,” Irish head coach Bob Bayliss said. “After losing the doubles point quickly, it was great to be able to jump out and win four first sets in singles and then finish off each of those matchess. A lot of credit goes to Luis Haddock-Morales for coming back to win four straight games in the third set to clinch the win for us.”
The win marked the first time the Irish defeated a top-10 team on the road since March of 1994 when #16 Notre Dame upset the fourth-ranked Blue Devils 4-3 in Durham, N.C.
Duke drew first blood, capturing the doubles point. Philip King and Michael Yani gained an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles and then Peter Shults and Jason Zimmerman won at No. 3 doubles by the same score. The No. 2 doubles match was abandoned with the Irish leading 7-6.
King, ranked 17th nationally in singles after being No. 2 in the preseason rankings, gave Duke a 2-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles. But the Irish responded with four straight victories. Senior Aaron Talarico (Laguna Beach, Calif.) got Notre Dame on the board and improved to 5-0 in dual matches this season by registering a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles. Classmate Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia) tied the match with a 6-3, 6-3 win over 24th-ranked Yani at No. 2. Taborga’s victory avenged a loss to Yani in qualifying of last fall’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships. Sophomore Matthew Scott (Paris, France) continued the Irish success with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 5. Scott improved to 13-2 this season and has won 11 of his last 12 matches, dating back to fall competition.
“Aaron, Javier and Matt all played perhaps the best they have all season, which was great to see,” said Bayliss.
Haddock-Morales also stands at 13-2 in singles after his match-clinching win, which directly ensued. After the outcome was determined, Peter Shults gained a three-set win at No. 6 for the Blue Devils.
Notre Dame improves to 4-1 on the season, while Duke was playing its season opener. The Irish suffered a 4-3 loss on the road Friday to #32 Minnesota.
“It was great to see our guys bounce back from a disappointing loss to Minnesota, who I believe is a top 10-to-15 team, despite their ranking,” said Bayliss.
The match was the 15th time in Notre Dame school history that the Irish, ranked in the top 10 at the time, took on another top-10 foe, but the first time in history that the match occurred at the opponent’s home facility. Of the previous matches, all occurring in 1992 or ’93, 13 were played at neutral sites and one was at Notre Dame. The Irish are 8-7 when ranked in the national top 10 and facing another top 10 team.
The victory snapped a 12-match losing streak for the Irish against top-10 opponents, dating back to 1997. Prior to Tuesday, Notre Dame had not defeated a top-10 team since downing #10 Virginia Commonwealth 4-3 in the second round of the ’97 Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic.
The Irish will return to action this weekend when they host #24 Ohio State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of a very good Ohio State team this weekend,” said Bayliss.
#7 Notre Dame 4, #10 Duke 3
No. 1: #17 Philip King (D) d. #88 Casey Smith (ND) 6-3, 6-2
No. 2: #95 Javier Taborga (ND) d. #24 Michael Yani (D) 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Aaron Talarico (ND) d. Joel Spicher (D) 6-2, 6-2
No. 4: #83 Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. #103 Alex Bose (D) 6-3, 6-7, 6-4
No. 5: Matthew Scott (ND) d. Yorke Allen (D) 6-3, 6-3
No. 6: Peter Shults (D) d. Brian Farrell (ND) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
No. 1: King/Yani (D) d. #6 Smith/Taborga (ND) 8-4
No. 2: James Malhame/Ashok Raju (ND) vs. Bose/Spicher (D) 7-6, abandoned
No. 3: Shults/Jason Zimmerman (D) d. Haddock-Morales/Talarico (ND) 8-4