Sept. 8, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has announced the 2009-10 preseason singles rankings, which include Irish men’s tennis players Casey Watt and Stephen Havens. Watt debuts at No. 90, while Havens stands at No. 98. It marks Watt’s first career appearance in the ITA singles rankings, while Havens is ranked for the second time in his career. The ITA preseason rankings showcase the top 125 student-athletes for singles play and the top 50 doubles teams entering the 2009-10 season.
Watt, a sophomore from Gibsonia, Pa., had a strong freshman campaign with the Irish. He recorded a 28-5 overall record in singles play, including a 10-0 mark in open play and an 18-5 record in dual match play. He began the season playing at No. 4 singles, where he went 10-3, before moving to No. 3 singles, where he posted an 8-2 mark. His 18 dual wins mark the most by a freshman since Sheeva Parbhu finished with a 20-3 record as a freshman in 2005.
With a 2-0 record at No. 3 singles in the 2009 Blue Gray National Tennis Classic, Watt earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career on March 25. He was then one of three freshmen named to the 2009 All-BIG EAST team.
Havens, a junior, played the majority of his sophomore season at No. 2 singles for the Irish. The Cincinnati, Ohio native registered a 10-15 record in the dual season, including one match played at No. 1 singles. Some of his dual season highlights included defeats of Sinisa Markovic of #20 Texas Tech in straight sets (7-6, 7-5) in a 4-0 win over the Red Raiders and a win in three sets against Austin Krajicek of #13 Texas A&M (6-2, 6-7, 6-3), which locked up the match-clinching point in Notre Dame’s 4-3 victory versus the Aggies. Havens also clinched the BIG EAST Championship opening round victory for the Irish with a win over Andrew Bruhn of Georgetown (6-4, 6-3). He also earned 2009 BIG EAST Academic All-Star honors.
All told, Watt and Havens are two of the seven BIG EAST student-athletes named in the ITA top-125 rankings. Heading into the 2009 fall season, they combine with junior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.) to give Notre Dame three players who have appeared in the ITA singles rankings.
Notre Dame’s 2009 fall season gets underway on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Olympia Fields CC Invitational. The three-day event, being hosted by Illinois, will take place in Olympia Fields, Ill. Visit und.com for a recap of the season-opening event that is expected to involve 11 Irish players.
— ND —