Jan. 30, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 30th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team dropped a heartbreaking decision to #35 Tulsa, 4-3, Saturday in the first round of the ITA Indoor Kickoff weekend.
Participating at the Ohio State regional in Columbus, Ohio, the Irish raced to an early 3-1 lead behind solid play at doubles as well as first and fifth singles.
The Irish got on the board first in the match, tallying the doubles point for the third time in four matches this season. Victories at second and third doubles propelled the Irish to an early lead against Tulsa.
After junior Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and sophomore Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) were defeated at first doubles, 8-4, junior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School) and sophomore Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) knotted the doubles score by knocking off Alastair Barnes and Marko Ballok, 8-4. Junior David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and junior Dan Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) clinched the point for the Irish at third singles with an 8-5 victory over Rusty Turpin and Grant Ive.
Notre Dame increased its lead to 2-0 over the Golden Hurricane when freshman Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) made short work of Tulsa’s Ive, 6-2, 6-0, at fifth singles. Moros, ranked 74th nationally, improved to 3-1 on the season.
Tulsa cut the Irish advantage in half following a victory at fourth singles. Ballok avenged a doubles loss by defeating Fitzgerald in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4.
Watt gave Notre Dame a 3-1 lead by winning at first singles, defeating Philip Stephens. After dropping the first set to Stephens, 6-1, Watt rallied to win the second set, 6-3, before cruising to a 6-2 victory in the third set.
The Golden Hurricane pulled even in the match following victories at sixth and second singles, respectively. Tulsa’s Tristan Jackson defeated Michael Moore 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 at sixth singles and Ashley Watling, ranked 21st in the nation, beat the 93rd-ranked Havens 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
With the outcome of the match hanging in the balance and players from both teams cheering on, Stahl and Barnes played a three-set thriller. Stahl won the first set 6-3 before the see-saw affair began in the second set. Barnes claimed the second set, 7-6 (7-5), forcing a decisive third set. With Barnes leading 5-4, he served for the match and closed out Stahl and the Irish, allowing Tulsa to advance to the regional championship.
With the loss, the Irish move to the consolation match against 51st-ranked New Mexico at 9:00 am Sunday. The Lobos were defeated by third-ranked Ohio State, 7-0, earlier Saturday. The Golden Hurricane and Buckeyes will square off at 12:30 pm Sunday with a trip to the ITA Team Indoor Championships at Virginia on the line.
#35 Tulsa 4, #30 Notre Dame 3
1. #18 Casey Watt (ND) def. Philip Stephens (UT), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. #21 Ashley Watling (UT) def. #93 Stephen Havens (ND), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
3. Alastair Barnes (UT) def. #95 Dan Stahl (ND), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
4. Marko Ballok (UT) def. Niall Fitzgerald (ND), 6-0, 6-4
5. #74 Blas Moros (ND) def. Grant Ive (UT), 6-2, 6-0
6. Tristan Jackson (UT) def. Michael Moore (ND), 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
1. Watling/Stephens (UT) def. Davis/Watt (ND), 8-4
2. Havens/Fitzgerald (ND) def. Barnes/Ballok (UT), 8-4
3. Anderson/Stahl (ND) def. Turpin/Ive (UT), 8-5
Notre Dame 2-2; National ranking #30
Tulsa 6-1; National ranking #35
Order of Finish: Doubles (1, 2, 3); Singles (5, 4, 1, 6, 2, 3)