March 19, 2010
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team knocked off 26th-ranked Fresno State, 4-3, in Blue Gray Tennis Classic quarterfinal action at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center on Friday afternoon. Superior singles play pushed the 38th-ranked Irish past the Bulldogs, as Notre Dame came back from a 3-1 deficit to record the win.
With the victory, which was the 701st of head coach Bobby Bayliss’ 41-year career, the Irish improve to 9-7 on the year. Notre Dame also snapped the Bulldogs’ four-match winning streak, as they fall to 11-6 on the season. The Irish have now won three matches in a row and advance to the semifinals of the 2010 Blue Gray Classic.
In doubles action, Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) combined to give the Irish a 1-0 lead with an 8-2 win at second doubles over Mirko Zapletal and Taylor Leiby. At No. 1 doubles, Fresno State’s 22nd-ranked duo of Rikus de Villiers and Remi Boutiller defeated Notre Dame’s 61st-ranked tandem of Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa/Pine-Richland), 8-4, to tie play at 1-1. In the decisive match at third doubles, David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) faced Tejesvi Veerepalli and Siddharth Alapati. The teams traded points, with Alapati and Veerepalli taking a 6-5 lead. Stahl and Anderson tied it at 6-6 but Alapati and Veerepalli claimed the doubles point for the Bulldogs with a 9-7 win.
Fresno State took a 2-0 lead when Boutiller downed Anderson at fourth singles 6-2, 6-4.
Twenty-seventh ranked Watt then got the Irish on the board with a win over Zapletal at No. 1 singles. Watt took the first set, 6-4. Then he jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the second set and held on to win, 7-5. The win improved his record to 7-6 on the year and cut the Fresno State lead to 2-1.
Fresno extended its lead to 3-1 when de Villiers downed Havens at No. 2 singles. Havens took the first set, 6-2, but then dropped the second and third by scores of 6-3 and 6-1.
With the Irish needing to win the last three singles matches to earn the victory, Stahl won at third singles over Veerepalli to move the overall score to 3-2 in favor of Fresno State. Stahl, ranked 86th, and Veerepalli, ranked 123rd, traded blows in the first two sets before Stahl pulled away for the win 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.
Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) tied the match at 3-3 when he won at No. 5 singles over David Ayoun 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. For Keeton, it marked his 10th consecutive singles win to start the 2010 dual season.
Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) then completed the Notre Dame comeback with a win at sixth singles over Alapati. Moros won the first set, 6-4, but dropped the second by an identical score. With the match on the line in the third, Moros jumped out to a 4-2 lead and won two of the next three games to clinch the match at 6-3. He is now 4-1 at sixth singles for the Irish.
Notre Dame will face Texas Tech in tomorrow’s semifinal match, set to begin at 2:00 p.m. (CT). The 16th-ranked Red Raiders recorded a 4-2 win over Oklahoma State to advance to the semis. Arizona and Oklahoma will meet in the earlier semifinal match. A recap of Notre Dame’s semifinal match will be posted on UND.com, while Irish fans can also follow along through the Blue Gray website (www.bluegraytennis.com), where live stats and photo galleries will be available.
Notre Dame’s win over Middle Tennessee State University (4-2) in the opening round of the 2010 Blue Gray tournament marked the 700th career win for head coach Bobby Bayliss (700-304-1/41 seasons) … 2010 marks the 61st year of the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic and the Irish have taken part in the classic in every year since the 1991 season … All-time, Notre Dame holds a 42-24 record at the event … the Irish are three-time Blue Gray champions, having won the tournament in 1993, 2001 and 2007 (also earned runner-up status in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2006) … Notre Dame has faced a ranked opponent in 11 of its 16 matches (the Campbell/ITA rankings slot the top-75 teams) … Sam Keeton is 10-0 in 2010 dual season singles play … nine of Notre Dame’s 16 matches have been decided by just one point … Notre Dame is 6-1 on the season when claiming the doubles point.
Fresno State vs. Notre DameMar 19, 2010 at Montgomery, Ala.
#38 Notre Dame 4, #26 Fresno State 3
Singles1. #27 Casey Watt (ND) def. Mirko Zapletal (FRESNO) 6-4, 7-52. Rikus de Villiers (FRESNO) def. Stephen Havens (ND) 2-6, 6-3, 6-13. #86 Daniel Stahl (ND) def. #123 Tejesvi Veerepalli (FRESNO) 6-4, 6-7, 6-14. Remi Boutiller (FRESNO) def. David Anderson (ND) 6-2, 6-45. Samuel Keeton (ND) def. David Ayoun (FRESNO) 6-4, 4-6, 6-46. Blas Moros (ND) def. Siddharth Alapati (FRESNO) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Doubles1. #22 Rikus de Villiers/Remi Boutiller (FRESNO) def. #61 Stephen Havens/Casey Watt (ND) 8-42. Tyler Davis/Niall Fitzgerald (ND) def. Mirko Zapletal/Taylor Leiby (FRESNO) 8-23. Tejesvi Veerepalli/Siddharth Alapati (FRESNO) def. David Anderson/Daniel Stahl (ND) 9-7
Match NotesFresno State 11-6; National ranking #26Notre Dame 9-7; National ranking #38Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,1,2,3,5,6)2010 Blue Gray Tennis Classic (2nd round)