Niall Fitzgerald won at fifth singles.

Irish Downed By No. 12 Tulsa At ITA National Team Indoors, 4-2.

Jan. 31, 2009

Box Score

TULSA, Okla. – The Notre Dame men’s tennis team dropped a 4-2 decision to 12th-ranked Tulsa at the ITA National Team Indoors. Top-seeded Tulsa hosted the match as part of the inaugural ITA Kick-Off Weekend inside the Case Tennis Center.

The Golden Hurricane took the doubles point with 8-4 wins at first and third doubles. At first doubles, Tulsa’s fourth-ranked tandem of Arnau Bruges and Philip Stephens took out 37th-ranked Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan HS). At third singles, Alberto Sottocorno and Ashley Watling of Tulsa defeated Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Matt Johnson (Portage, Mich./Portage Central HS).

The Irish were successful at second doubles, where freshman Casey Watt and sophomore Stephen Havens dominated Tulsa’s Marko Ballok and Ross Cunningham for an 8-1 win. Through five dual matches, Havens and Watt are 3-2 at second doubles.

The Irish tied the match score at 1-1 when Fitzgerald took down Tulsa’s Watling, 6-1, 6-4. Then, the Irish took the overall lead at 2-1 when Sam Keeton ran his dual season singles record to 4-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ballok.

But Tulsa ran off three straight wins at second, fourth and first singles to take the match by a final score of 4-2. At second singles, Havens fell to Victor Kolik, 6-2, 6-4. At fourth singles, Sottocorno bested Watt 6-3, 6-4. Then, in what turned out to be the clinching match, tenth-ranked Arnau Brugues outlasted 20th-ranked Helgeson, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Helgeson has now played a third set in four of his five 2009 dual season starts at first singles.

With the Golden Hurricane clinching the match, Daniel Stahl’s (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman HS) match versus 91st-ranked Philip Stephens was abandoned in the third set. Stahl, ranked 112th, dropped the first set, 6-2, before bouncing back to take the second set, 6-3.

With the loss, Notre Dame moves to the consolation match of the Tulsa regional versus 20th-ranked Texas Tech, to be played on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. It will be Notre Dame’s fifth top-20 opponent out of six matches to begin the 2009 dual season. Tulsa and 16th-ranked LSU, who earned a 4-3 win over the Red Raiders on Saturday, meet with a trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago, Illinois on the line.

Live Stats for Notre Dame’s match versus Texas Tech can be found through Tulsa’s official Athletic website and/or by accessing the link: Complete results will also be available at

#12 Tulsa 4, #32 Notre Dame 2
Singles1. #10 Arnau Brugues (TLS) def. #20 Brett Helgeson (ND), 6-4, 4-6, 6-22. Victor Kolik (TLS) def. Stephen Havens (ND), 6-2 ,6-43. #91 Philip Stephens vs. #112 Daniel Stahl (ND), 2-6, 6-3, 5-4 unfinished4. Alberto Sottocorno (TLS) def. Casey Watt (ND), 6-3, 6-45. Niall Fitzgerald (ND) def. Ashely Watling (TLS), 6-1 ,6-46. Sam Keeton (ND) def. Marko Ballok (TLS), 6-2 ,6-2
Doubles1. #4 Brugues/Stephens (TLS) def. #37 Davis/Helgeson (ND), 8-42. Havens/Watt (ND) def. Ballok/Cunningham (TLS), 8-13. Sottocorno/Watling (TLS) def. Fitzgerald/Johnson (ND), 8-4
Match Notes:Tulsa 6-1; National ranking #12Notre Dame 1-4; National ranking #32Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (5, 6, 2, 4, 1, 3 unfinished)

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