April 28, 2004
BIG EAST Championship
Neil Schiff Tennis Complex * Coral Gables, Fla.
 St. John’s (11-9, 5-1) vs.  Rutgers (6-11, 4-1)
First Round * Thursday, April 29, 9:00 a.m.
 #49 Miami (12-7, 1-0) vs.  Boston College (6-15, 1-2)
First Round * Thursday, April 29, Noon
 #48 Virginia Tech (14-10, 2-0) vs. St. John’s/Rutgers
Semifinals * Friday, April 30, 9:00 a.m.
 #36 Notre Dame (13-8, 1-2) vs. Miami/Boston College
Semifinals * Friday, April 30, Noon
Fifth-Place Match * Friday, April 30, 3:00 p.m.
Third-Place Match * Saturday, May 1, 9:00 a.m.
Final * Saturday, May 1, Noon
NOTRE DAME AIMS FOR FOURTH BIG EAST TITLE: The second-seeded and 36th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (13-8, 1-2) will look for its fourth title in the BIG EAST Championship this weekend at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex in Coral Gables, Fla. The Irish, who gained a first-round bye in the six-team event, open play against either third-seeded #49 Miami (12-7, 1-0) or sixth-seeded Boston College (6-15, 1-2) on Friday at Noon (EDT) in semifinal action, while the title match is slated for Saturday at Noon. Notre Dame and the Hurricanes have met in each of the eight BIG EAST finals since the Irish joined the conference.
HOTLINE TO FEATURE IN-MATCH UPDATES: Fans and media unable to attend the 2004 BIG EAST Tennis Championships will be able to keep up with the action via the Notre Dame Sports Hotline, which will feature in-match updates during all Notre Dame men’s and women’s matches. The Hotline will be updated at the top and bottom of each hour, with the possibility of more frequent updates if the action is tight. These reports can be accessed by dialing (574) 631-3000 and selecting option #8 for tennis. In addition, the official athletic website of the University of Notre Dame, www.und.com, will feature recaps of all the Irish action at the end of each day.
LAST TIME ON THE COURTS: Notre Dame posted a 6-1 road victory against #33 Florida State on April 12 at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center in Tallahassee. The Irish won the doubles point and all but one singles contest to finish the regular season. Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) highlighted the victory with an upset of the nation’s 18th-ranked singles player. Juggling the doubles lineup proved effective for the Irish, as they took a 1-0 lead after dropping the doubles point in the previous five matches. A pair of new combinations was victorious in the first two contests off the court to secure the point. Finishing first was senior Paul Hidaka (Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary’s International School) and freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), who beat Joe Bassett and Chip Webb 8-6 at No. 3. The Irish pair had teamed together just once previously, winning at No. 1 against Illinois State in January. At No. 2, junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.), playing together for the first time, defeated Mat Cloer and Jonathas Sucupira 8-5. The nation’s 19th-ranked team, Jeff Groslimond and Chris Westerhof, was victorious at No. 1, topping Haddock and fellow senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) 9-7. The Seminole team gained its 26th win of the season to set a school record.
The Irish won the first five matches off the court in singles to open up a 6-0 lead. First off was freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), who beat Bassett 6-2, 6-1 for his third consecutive victory. D’Amico put Notre Dame within a point of triumph by beating Webb 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 at No. 4. Keckley provided the clincher for the second time in as many Irish wins, beating Joao Paolo Bounassar of Brazil 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6. The Irish freshman has won six of his last seven matches and is 13-7 on the season. The remaining three matches were decided in three sets, with Notre Dame winning two of them. Haddock, ranked 93rd, finished his upset of 18th-ranked Cloer first. The 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 decision was the Irish senior’s fourth win over a ranked opponent in just over a month and his second against a top-20 foe. Freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) then topped Groslimond 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3. South African Westerhof then avoided the shutout by outlasting Scott 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 at No. 2.
IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame was named the No. 2 seed in the 2004 BIG EAST Championship, which will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex in Coral Gables, Fla. For the third straight year, the format of the event will be a single-elimination tournament of the top six teams in the league, as selected by the conference, with the top two seeds gaining first-round byes. The winner receives the BIG EAST’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, which begins at campus sites on May 15. This marks just the third time in nine years of competition that the Irish are not the top seed, after Notre Dame was seeded second in 2000 and third a year ago. The Irish have advanced to the final in each of the past seven years to face Miami, winning titles in 1996, 1999, and 2002, while last year’s championship was rained out, with no winner declared, but the Hurricanes gaining the automatic bid to the NCAAs due to conference policy.
Play gets underway Thursday morning with fourth-seeded St. John’s (11-9, 5-1) and the fifth seed, Rutgers (6-11, 4-1), playing at 9:00 a.m. In the other quarterfinal matchup, third-seeded and 49th-ranked Miami (12-7, 1-0) will face sixth-seeded Boston College (6-15, 1-2). The semifinals are set for Friday with top-seeded Virginia Tech (14-10, 2-0) taking on the St. John’s-Rutgers winner at 9:00 a.m. and the second-seeded Irish meeting the Miami-B.C. victor at Noon. Thursday’s losing teams will play at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday for fifth place. The third-place match is scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m., while the final will be at Noon.
A season ago, the Irish beat St. John’s 4-0 in the quarterfinals, but the following day of action was completely washed out due to rain and thunderstorms. After warming up under the lights on Sunday morning, Notre Dame outlasted Virginia Tech 4-3 in a match that took four hours and 48 minutes to complete. The singles were played first, and both teams won three to force doubles competition with the score tied 3-3. The Irish got wins at Nos. 1 and 2 to clinch the doubles point and move to the final. The title match between Notre Dame and Miami began soon thereafter, but was halted due to a resumption of rain after less than an hour of play. Both teams had won a pair of first sets, while the other two were still in the opening frame. The match was suspended indefinitely and the Hurricanes were awarded the automatic berth to the NCAAs.
Four Notre Dame players have past experience playing in the BIG EAST Championship, compiling a combined 16-3 record. Most notably, junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) is undefeated in league tournament play, going 2-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles, with a three matches unfinished (two singles, one doubles). Senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) is unbeaten in four doubles matches, while also going 3-1 in singles, with one match abandoned. Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) has had terrible luck in finishing singles matches, having completed just one (a victory against Virginia Tech in last year’s semis) of his seven career singles contests in the BIG EAST tournament, while going 3-1 in doubles (two abandoned). Sophomore Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) played No. 6 singles for the Irish a year ago, losing against the Hokies and having his other two matches abandoned.
Haddock, as one of only two conference players in the national singles rankings, is a candidate for the 2003 BIG EAST Most Outstanding Player award. Ranked 64th in the most recent listing, the Irish senior is 19-10 this season, including an 11-5 mark at No. 1 singles and victories in each of his last four matches against ranked opponents. He is unbeaten against BIG EAST foes this season, though he missed the Miami match with an injury. Haddock upset Virginia Tech’s Andreas Laulund, then ranked 57th and now 41st, 6-3, 6-4 earlier this month. Three-time All-American Ryan Sachire (’00) is the only Irish player to win the award, capturing it in 1999 and 2000.
Head coach Bob Bayliss has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year three times in the last five years. He is again a leading candidate for the award in ’04, as the Irish are the highest-ranked team in the conference.
A year ago, the conference began also naming six singles players and three doubles teams to its all-tournament team. Haddock and Scott earned singles mention a year ago, while D’Amico and Scott were tabbed in doubles.
Much success has come for Notre Dame against BIG EAST schools over the years. The Irish are 35-16 all-time against current members of the conference. The majority of Notre Dame defeats have come at the hands of Miami, which has won 12 of 19 official contests, giving the Irish a 28-4 record against the rest of the league. Only Georgetown, Virginia Tech (twice) and West Virginia have defeated Notre Dame. In the Bayliss era, Notre Dame is 7-8 against Miami and 21-2 vs. the rest of the conference. In tournament play, the Irish have a 17-4 record and have registered shutout victories in 12 of 13 non-championship matches (second round and semifinals) since joining the conference.
Regarding other teams in this year’s field, Notre Dame has split four all-time meetings with Virginia Tech, losing in 1977 and earlier this month (4-3 in Blacksburg). The Irish are 3-0 against St. John’s, 5-0 vs. Rutgers, and 3-0 when facing Boston College.
Prior to joining the BIG EAST, Notre Dame competed in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in men’s tennis from 1989-95. The Irish won seven consecutive league titles and Bayliss was honored four times as the conference’s top coach. In MCC and BIG EAST play combined, the Irish have won 10 conference championships in the past 15 years.
ITA RANKINGS: After being idle last week, Notre Dame dropped three spots to 36th in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, which are determined by the point-per-match computer formula. Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) fell seven positions from his career high to 64th in this week’s national singles rankings. He has won seven of his last eight matches and stands 19-10 on the season, including 11-5 in dual matches. Haddock has been victorious in each of his last four matches against ranked opponents.
ALL SIX IRISH NON-CONFERENCE LOSSES CAME AGAINST TOP-30 TEAMS: All six of Notre Dame’s losses out of conference this season came against teams ranked in the national top 30 at the time of the match (as well as now). The Irish lost 7-0 to #1 Illinois and #8 Duke, fell 4-0 vs. #11 VCU, lost 5-2 against #9 Texas A&M, and couldn’t hold on to leads in dropping 4-3 decisions against #12 Ohio State and #27 Mississippi State.
PLENTY OF TIGHT MATCHES AGAIN FOR IRISH: For the second year in a row, nearly half of the Irish matches have been decided by three-set contests. Ten of Notre Dame’s 21 matches this season have come down to three-set affairs, as they have been undecided after the doubles and two-set singles matches are completed. The Irish are 6-4 in those matches. A season ago, 10 of Notre Dame’s 22 contests were decided by three-setters, with the Irish winning half of them. Despite losing four times, the Irish hold a 20-10 record in three-setters in undecided matches this spring. Notre Dame won all four three-set affairs against SMU, took all three vs. Illinois State, and won four of five against both Indiana and Michigan. The Irish are 1-3 in 4-3 matches, including 0-2 when the score is tied 3-3.
HALF OF NOTRE DAME LOSSES CAME DOWN TO THREE-SET MATCHES: Four of Notre Dame’s eight defeats came in matches that were undecided when the doubles and two-set singles matches were complete. A brief recap of those situations is below.
* On Feb. 28, Notre Dame, playing without No. 1 singles player Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.), came up just short in an upset bid against #12 Ohio State, eventually falling 4-3. The Buckeyes won three of four three-setters, and the match came down to the Nos. 5 and 6 tilts left with the Irish up 3-2. Ross Wilson topped freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the higher position, and Dennis Mertens downed sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 at No. 6 to allow the Buckeyes to escape with the victory.
* One day later, the Haddock-less Irish again fell just shy in their quest for an upset, eventually losing 5-2 to #33 Miami. The match again came down to the bottom two positions, this time with the Hurricanes up 3-2. Colin Purcell beat Keckley 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 at No. 5, and Jeremiah Fuller came back to win a second-set tiebreaker and a match tiebreaker against Langenkamp at No. 6.
* In consolation action in the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic, #27 Mississippi State rallied from one-set deficits for a pair of three-set wins in coming back from a 3-1 disadvantage to beat the Irish on March 13. Florent Girod rallied to beat freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 to tie the score 3-3, which left it up to the No. 2 match. In that contest, Jose-Carlos Pinto beat senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to give MSU the triumph.
* On April 4 in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech pulled out a 4-3 victory. The Hokies won 9-7 at No. 2 doubles and then 9-8 (9-7) at No. 3 to take a 1-0 lead and then had Angel Diankov beat Keckley 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 at No. 6 to clinch the victory. King then downed Adel Abbas 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 at No. 5 to account for the final margin.
STREAK OF ND-UM FINALS TO END THIS YEAR: This year will mark the first time since Notre Dame joined the league in 1995-96 that the Irish and Miami do not meet in the final of the BIG EAST Championship. The teams, seeded second and third, are on the same side of this year’s bracket and could meet up in Friday’s semifinals.
HADDOCK RIDING FOUR STRAIGHT WINS OVER RANKED FOES: After going winless in three matches against ranked foes this season until that point, senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) has won four in a row over ranked opponents over the last month and a half, while being forced to abandon another would-be upset, up a set and a service break. The run began on March 11, when Haddock beat #51 Greg Shearer of Fresno State 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the Blue/Gray National Classic. The following day, the Irish senior appeared to be on his way to a repeat upset, leading 6-4, 3-2 vs. #84 Pedro Nieto of VCU when the match was abandoned. On the third day of the Blue/Gray, Haddock gained an upset win against #13 Romain Ambert of Mississippi State, when the Bulldog retired after losing the first set, 6-2. Each of the final two matches of the regular season resulted in Haddock upsets, as he defeated #57 Andreas Laulund of Virginia Tech 6-3, 6-4 on April 4 before topping two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Mat Cloer of Florida State, ranked 19th, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 eight days later. Haddock has won seven of his last eight and is 19-10 this season, including 11-5 in dual matches at No. 1. He has 16 career wins against ranked foes and had never beaten anyone ranked higher than 47th until this season.
STREAKING STEPHEN: Freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) has been Notre Dame’s most consistent winner in singles this season. He leads the team in both overall and dual-match victories, sporting a 21-7 record, including 15-5 in dual matches at Nos. 3 and 4. He has won eight of his last 10 contests and was 11-2 in home matches. Bass holds a brilliant 8-0 record in three-set contests (6-0 when the team match is undecided) and amazingly has a winning record — 7-6 — when dropping the first set. He is 8-3 against Midwest Region opponents.
BASS, D’AMICO, BUCHANAN PERFECT IN THE CLUTCH THIS SEASON: Junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]), sophomore Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) have combined for a 9-0 record this season in three-set matches when the team outcome is undecided following the completion of the two-setters. Bass is unbeaten in six tries, winning against USC (fall exhibition), Indiana, Illinois State, SMU, Ohio State, and Michigan. D’Amico was victorious against the Hoosiers and Northwestern, while Buchanan won in his only time in the situation this spring, vs. the Redbirds.
HADDOCK AMONG WINNINGEST PLAYERS UNDER BAYLISS: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) enters his final postseason with career records of 90-40 in singles and 70-41 in doubles. He is one of only five players in the Bob Bayliss era to have 90 career singles wins and 70 doubles victories, joining David DiLucia (’92; 146-33 in singles; 73-30 in doubles), Ryan Sachire (’00; 138-44; 73-32), Andy Zurcher (’94; 128-60; 78-41), and Ryan Simme (’97; 96-62; 77-40). Haddock ranks ninth on both the career singles and career combined victories lists.
SCOTT MOVING UP CAREER SINGLES WINS LIST: Senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) enters his final BIG EAST tournament with a career singles record of 83-39. That places him in an 11th-place tie with Brian Patterson (’99) on the career singles victories list among players under Bob Bayliss.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) has been outstanding for the Irish this season, compiling an 18-5 record in singles, including 9-3 in dual matches at Nos. 5 and 6. He also is 10-7 in doubles (6-5 dual). As a freshman, he was winless in six dual-match appearances in singles, finishing 9-12 overall.
SENIOR CAPTAINS A DOUBLES FORCE: Head coach Bob Bayliss’ decision to pair together his senior tri-captains, Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), beginning Feb. 15, has paid dividends. The duo is 13-3 this season and has become Notre Dame’s top doubles team. Haddock and Scott were 9-2 at No. 2 and have split a pair of matches at the top of the lineup. They hold a career mark of 18-5 and peaked at 29th in the national rankings earlier this season. Haddock and Scott are 8-1 against Midwest Region foes in 2003-04 and 7-0 in home matches.
DON’T TAKE HIM TO THE LIMIT: Freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) has been unbeatable in third sets this season, going 8-0 in three-set affairs. Incredibly, he has a winning record – 7-6 — when losing the first set.
FABULOUS FRESHMEN: Notre Dame’s freshman class has been a big part of its success this season, as Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) have been regulars in the Irish lineups, while Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) and Bobby McNally (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Preparatory School) have also seen occasional dual-match action. Bass leads the Irish in overall and dual singles victories, holding a 21-7 record (15-5 dual), playing Nos. 3 and 4. King is 15-10 (11-7 dual) playing Nos. 3, 4, and 5, while Keckley is 13-7 (7-5 dual) at Nos. 4, 5, and 6. Keckley became just the second Irish freshman ever to earn a national ranking in doubles, and he has played No. 1 most of the season (8-10 record). King and Bass also have seen time in the doubles lineup.
IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The road to the 2004 BIG EAST Championship has been challenging for Notre Dame. Of the 21 dual-match opponents the Irish faced this season, 12 of them earned berths in last year’s NCAA tournament and 16 of them are in this week’s ITA national rankings, including nine in the top 35. Three Irish foes — #1 Illinois (L, 0-7), #6 Duke (L, 0-7), and #8 VCU (L, 0-4) — are in the top 10, while #16 Ohio State (L, 3-4) and #25 Texas A&M (L, 2-5) are also in the top 25.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW SET FOR MAY 5 ON ESPNEWS: The selection show for the 2004 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship is set for Wednesday, May 5 between 4-5 p.m. (EDT) (3-4 p.m. in South Bend). It will feature the announcement of the 64-team field for the NCAA team tournament and the 16 sites playing host to first- and second-round action. The 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams gaining entry to the NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships will be posted on www1.ncaa.org/membership/champadmin/tennis/index on May 6 by 6 p.m. (EDT). The first two rounds of the team championship will be played May 15-16 at campus sites, while the final four rounds will be May 22-25 in Tulsa, Okla. The individual tournaments are slated for May 26-31 in the same location.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS ON TV: The 2004 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships will receive more television coverage than ever before. The women’s team final will air on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2 on June 2 at 3 p.m. (EDT) (2 p.m. in South Bend). The Tennis Channel will provide tape-delayed coverage of the finals of the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, slated to premiere on June 5 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (EDT) and re-air numerous times.
BAYLISS GETS 300TH WIN AT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame’s 5-2 win at Northwestern on Feb. 21 marked the 300th for head coach Bob Bayliss since he took over the reins of the Irish program in 1987-88. He holds a 307-148 (.675) record in 16-plus seasons leading Notre Dame. He is second on the Irish all-time wins list behind his predecessor, Tom Fallon, who had a 514-194 (.726) record in 31 years coaching the Irish. Bayliss holds a 589-242 (.709) overall record in 35 years as a head coach.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 17th year at Notre Dame with a 307-148 (.675) record and his 35th year as a collegiate head coach with a 589-242 (.709) mark. He ranks fifth among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories and has had just one losing season in his career. Bayliss’ Irish have finished in the top 20 nine times in the past 14 years, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on five occasions, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 1993 and a national runner-up finish in ’92. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time midwest region coach of the year and has been honored as his conference’s top coach on 10 occasions, including three times in eight years in the BIG EAST. In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 10 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 17 times, won eight national ITA awards, and earned 15 invitations to the NCAA singles championship and 11 to the NCAA doubles tournament. A member of the University of Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English while playing tennis and basketball, Bayliss began his coaching career at Navy, where he coached for 11 years. He coached at MIT for three years before coming to Notre Dame in 1988.
IRISH LAND TWO RECRUITS FOR NEXT SEASON: Bob Bayliss recently announced the signing of two incoming freshmen for the 2004-05 school year, both of whom are among the top 30 American high school seniors. Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) and Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/The Tenney School) have signed national letters of intent to enroll at Notre Dame next year and join the Irish tennis team. Parbhu is ranked 57th in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Boys’ 18-and-under national rankings and is 30th among high school seniors. Last season, he won the Nebraska state singles championship. Roth is 33rd in the latest USTA 18s rankings and is 19th among players who will begin college in the fall. He is the current 18-and-under champion of the Texas section of the USTA and was the No. 1 player on the Texas Junior Davis Cup team.
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eileen Carroll at email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.