April 24, 2010
MISHAWAKA, Ind. – The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team clashed with the South Florida Bulls for the second consecutive year in BIG EAST semifinal action on Saturday afternoon and came away with 4-1 win at the South Bend Racquet Club. With the win, Notre Dame books a place in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship match. The final will be played at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning against 15th-ranked Louisville at either the Courtney Tennis Center or the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The win for Notre Dame avenged an earlier loss to USF this season, as the Bulls downed the Irish at USF on March 13 by a score of 4-3 and have now advanced to the BIG EAST title match for the 13th time since 1996. The Irish are 7-4 all-time in BIG EAST title matches (the 2003 title match was not played due to rain) and they are also 1-1 all-time in title matches versus Louisville. Notre Dame last claimed BIG EAST titles in 2007 and 2008.
To open the match versus USF, the Irish clinched an extremely close doubles point with wins at second and third doubles. USF took an early lead when Thomas Estrada and Jamal Adderley beat eighty-eighth ranked Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) at No. 1 doubles, 8-3. Watt and Havens fell behind early, 4-1, and could not recover.
The Irish answered with a win at the No. 3 position by David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) to tie doubles play at 1-1. Anderson and Stahl traded blows with USF’s Mark Oljaca and Juan Carlos Acuna until the Irish duo broke USF to go ahead 7-5. Anderson then served out for the win.
At No. 2 doubles, Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) staked the Irish to a 1-0 lead in the overall match when they downed Wael Kilani and Yannick Yoshizawa, 9-7. Davis and Fitzgerald jumped out to a 5-2 lead but Kilani and Yoshizawa fired back to eventually tie the match at 6-6. With Fitzgerald serving, the Irish pushed ahead by a 7-6 margin only to see USF tied the match again at 7-7. Davis served out his game to give the Irish an 8-7 advantage and then the Irish duo was able to earn the decisive break on a well-placed backhanded return by Davis.
Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead when Havens downed Adderley at No. 2 singles 6-0, 6-2. The Bulls got on the board next though when 47th-ranked Watt was defeated at the No. 1 position by 84th-ranked Kilani. He dropped the first set, 6-2, before rallying to win the second, 6-3. In the third set, Watt fell behind 0-3, but tied it at 3-3 before ultimately losing to 6-3.
Stahl pushed the Irish to within one point of winning the match when he defeated Peter Frank at No. 3 singles 7-6 (2), 6-3. In the first set, Stahl rallied from a 4-5 deficit to win and then he broke Frank to close out the second set and earn the win.
For the second consecutive match, Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) came through with the match clinching win for the Irish at No. 4 singles, this time over USF’s Romain Deridder. Keeton dropped the first set, 6-4, before coming back to take the second set 6-3. In the decisive third set, Keeton pulled ahead 3-2 and then rattled off three straight wins to clinch the match, which was the 16th of the year for Keeton.
With the match decided, Anderson’s match at No. 4 singles and Blas Moros’s (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) match at No. 6 singles were not finished. Anderson had been tied with Yannick Yoshizawa 3-6, 6-3, 5-5 and Moros was leading Juan Carlos Acuna 6-3, 5-6 at No. 6 singles.
#38 Notre Dame 4, USF 1April 24, 2010 at Mishawaka, Ind. (South Bend Racquet Club)
Singles1. #84 Wael Kilani (USF) def. #47 Casey Watt (ND) 6-3, 3-6, 6-32. Stephen Havens (ND) def. Jamal Adderley (USF) 6-0, 6-23. #110 Daniel Stahl (ND) def. Peter Frank (USF) 7-6 (2), 6-34. Samuel Keeton (ND) def. Romain Deridder (USF) 4-6, 6-4, 6-25. David Anderson (ND) vs. Yannick Yoshizawa (USF) 3-6, 6-3, 5-56. Blas Moros (ND) vs. Juan Carlos Acuna (USF) 6-3, 5-6
Doubles1. Thomas Estrada/Jamal Adderlay (USF) def. #88 Stephen Havens/Casey Watt (ND) 8-32. Tyler Davis/Niall Fitzgerald (ND) def. Wael Kilani/Yannick Yoshizawa (USF) 9-73. David Anderson/Daniel Stahl (ND) def. Mark Oljaca/Juan Carlos Acuna (USF) 8-5
Match NotesNotre Dame 15-11; National ranking #38USF 8-14Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,1,3,4,DNF,DNF)