Jan. 24, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 27th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team opened its 2003 spring season with a tough 4-3 loss to visiting Indiana, in Friday-night action at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Notre Dame held a 3-2 lead after four of the singles matches had been completed in two sets – but Zach Held (at #4) and #6 Jullien Vulliez both completed comeback victories to give the Hoosiers the 4-3 win.
The Irish – who returned just two of their eight competitors from the 2002 NCAAs – had claimed the doubles point (sweeping all three matches) but then managed to win just two of the singles events. Junior Luis Haddock lived up to his #72 national ranking with a comfortable win at #1 singles (6-4, 6-2 vs. Viktor Libal) while sophomore Brett D’Amico followed up his leading role at #1 doubles by posting a 7-5, 6-4 win at #3 singles vs. recent IU newcomer and Czechoslovakian native Petr Novotny.
Notre Dame junior Matt Scott faced challenging opponent at No. 2 singles, with Scott dropping the first set (6-4) vs. Jakub Praibis before answering with a 3-0 lead in the second set – only to see Praibis come back to close out the match (7-6).
Brian Farrell – the only senior to play for the Irish on Friday – won the first set in #4 singles (6-4) but Held quickly tied the match (6-2). Farrell then had a break-point chance that would have forged a 4-4 tie in the third set, but he failed to cash in a short forehand chance and Held kept the momentum for the 6-3 win.
Vulliez completed his comeback at #6 singles by a similar score, besting Irish freshman Patrick Buchanan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Another Notre Dame freshman, Eric Langenkamp, earned a start at #5 singles but dropped a 6-4, 7-5 match to Ryan Recht.
D’Amico and Scott posted an 8-5 win at #1 singles (vs. Held and Recht) while Haddock and Farrell turned in an impressive 8-1 victory at #2 singles, besting Novotny and Libal.
Sophomore Paul McNaughton and junior Nicholas Lopez completed the doubles sweep, winning 8-6 vs. Praibis and John Stone.
“We just are a really young team with several players who are competing at much higher spots than they were a year ago,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Bayliss. “We will be better as the yea progresses but IU just played well today and outfought us when they had to.
“We have a ways to go and there are several adjustments we have to make to become a better team. It’s just unfortunate that things came down to those final two matches, considering this was the first competition of the season for such a young team.
“D’Amico is our best doubles player and he did a great job in winning his singles match . He only played a handful of matches last year, all at #6, but Matt could end up being a very key player for us as the year progresses.”
Indiana 4, #27 Notre Dame 3
No. 1: #72 Luis Haddock (ND) d. Viktor Libal (IU) 6-4, 6-2
No. 2: Jakub Praibis (IU) d. #119 Matt Scott (ND) 6-1, 7-6
No. 3: Brent D’Amico (ND) d. Peter Novotny (IU) 7-5, 6-4
No. 4: Zach Held (IU) d. Brian Farrell (ND) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
No. 5: Ryan Recht (IU) d. Eric Langenkamp (ND) 6-4, 7-5
No. 6: Jullien Vulliez (IU) d. Patrick Buchanan (ND) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
No. 1: D’Amico/Scott (ND) d. Held/Recht (IU) 8-5
No. 2: Haddock/Farrell (ND) d. Libal/Novotny (IU) 8-1
No. 3: Paul McNaughton/Nicolas Lopez (ND) d. John Stone/Praibis