May 14, 2004
NCAA Championship (1st/2nd Rounds)
Beren Tennis Center * Cambridge, Mass.
[17-32] #19 Tulane (18-4) vs. [33-48] #30 Notre Dame (15-8)
First Round * Saturday, May 15, 9:00 a.m.
 #21 Harvard (21-6) vs. [49-64] Quinnipiac (14-5)
First Round * Saturday, May 15, Noon
Second Round * Sunday, May 16, Noon
IRISH HEAD TO HARVARD FOR OPENING ROUNDS OF NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: The 30th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (15-8), one of the No. 33-48 seeds, will open play in the 2004 NCAA Division I Championship this weekend at the Beren Tennis Center on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. The Irish, returning to the NCAAs after missing last year’s tournament for the first time in 13 years, will take on #19 Tulane (18-4) in first-round action on Saturday at 9 a.m. (EDT). The other opening-round match will be the 16th-seeded and 21st-ranked host Crimson (21-6) against Quinnipiac (14-5), and the winners will meet in a second-round tilt on Sunday at noon. It is the only NCAA regional to feature three top-30 teams and the only one with four conference champions. The first-round match between the Irish and Green Wave is a contest between the schools that shared the 1959 NCAA championship.
LIVE SCORING AVAILABLE FOR THIS WEEKEND’S NCAA MATCHES: Fans and media unable to attend the first two rounds of the 2004 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship in Cambridge, Mass. will be able to keep up with the action via live scoring, accessible on the official website of Harvard athletics, at http://gocrimson.collegesports.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/050704aaa.html. There will be live scoring for all three matches. Additionally, as always, there will be recaps following the conclusion of the match on both the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000, #8 for tennis, #1 for men’s tennis) and www.und.com, the official website of Notre Dame athletics.
LAST TIME ON THE COURTS: Notre Dame, the tournament’s second seed, avenged a pair of regular-season defeats in winning its fourth title in the BIG EAST Championship April 30-May 1 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex in Coral Gables, Fla. The Irish, ranked 36th, downed third-seeded and 49th-ranked Miami 4-1 on the Hurricanes’ home courts in the semifinals before getting third-set heroics from freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) to beat Virginia Tech 4-2 in the final.
Notre Dame battled through the heat and humidity, as well as a home-court advantage, to beat their arch-rivals in the semifinals in the first time the teams had ever met prior to the title match in the BIG EAST tournament. The Irish took the doubles point and three of the four singles matches that were completed to avenge a 5-2 home loss to Miami earlier this spring.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but then struggled to get a final point to secure the victory. After the Hurricanes netted a straight-set win at No. 4, only the top three matches remained on the court, with the Irish up 3-1. Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) took advantage of the opportunity to deliver the knockout blow. Haddock, ranked 64th nationally in singles, clinched the Irish victory with a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Josh Cohen at No. 1. The Irish senior was down a service break at 2-3 in the second set before taking four consecutive games to force a decisive frame. He broke serve in the opening game of the third set, added another break in the seventh game, and served out the match to even the series between the schools in the BIG EAST tournament at 4-4-1. Haddock missed the regular-season meeting with the Hurricanes due to an injury. Notre Dame led in the two matches left on the court when Haddock notched his team-high fifth clinching win of the season. Bass, Notre Dame’s top crunch-time player this season, was up a service break in the third set at 3-0 against John Hoyes at No. 3 after Bass took the first set 6-3 and the Hurricane won the second by the same score. In the other abandoned contest, senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) staged an improbable comeback to take the first set against Eric Hechtman at No. 2. The Hurricane was leading 5-2 and served for the set on three occasions, but Scott saved multiple set points in rallying to force a tiebreaker, which he won 7-2 to finally conclude the opening set, which lasted one hour and 23 minutes. Hechtman was up 4-1 on Scott, who was suffering from heat exhaustion and a rolled ankle, in the second set when the match was abandoned.
Due to a flu-like illness that struck the Irish this week, Notre Dame was forced to use a new combination at No. 3 doubles, while its No. 2 team had played together just one time previously. Nevertheless, those combinations handed the Irish the doubles point. First off was the team of Bass and freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), who beat Cohen and P.J. Passalacqua 8-4 at No. 3. The rookies had not played together prior to Friday. Junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.), who teamed together for the first time in the regular-season finale, beat Hoyes and Jeremiah Fuller 8-4 at No. 2 to improve to 2-0 as a team. Hechtman and Purcell were on the verge of a victory at No. 1, but could not put away Haddock and Scott. Leading 7-6, the Miami duo had four match points, but could not convert any of them. The Hurricanes saved four break points in the 14th game, but eventually were forced to abandon the match when D’Amico and Langenkamp were victorious at No. 2 to clinch the doubles point.
Keckley, who did not travel with the team this week due to illness, was pulled from the singles lineup. Langenkamp replaced him at No. 6, and he was first off the court, dropping just a single game in beating Tim Krebs 6-0, 6-1. Irish freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) put Notre Dame up 3-0 by beating Jeremiah Fuller 6-2, 6-0 at No. 5. Miami got on the board when Purcell finished a 6-4, 6-4 decision against D’Amico at No. 4.
After looking as though his match would be the decisive one and being just three points away from defeat, Bass won 12 consecutive points for a dramatic three-set comeback victory at No. 3 singles, handing Notre Dame the BIG EAST championship. Notre Dame led 3-2 with two singles matches remaining on the court, both in third sets. Down a break in the decisive frame at No. 2, it became apparent that the Irish would need a victory in the No. 3 match between Bass and Tech freshman Arvid Puranen of Sweden. The Hokie registered the first service break of the third set in the seventh game, but Bass broke back immediately to tie the score at 4-4. In his ensuing service game, he began experiencing muscle cramps in his right forearm and had to call an injury timeout to summon a trainer. Upon resumption of play, Puranen broke serve to take a 5-4 lead and give himself an opportunity to serve out the match and put his team in prime position to win its first BIG EAST title. The Swede won the first point of his service game to move to within three points of taking the match. Puranen would not win another point, as Bass won the next four to break serve and even the score at 5-5. He then held at love and won four straight points on the Hokie’s next service game to complete a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 triumph.
The strength at the bottom of the lineups put the Irish in position to win the conference title, as Notre Dame won at the bottom two positions in singles and doubles. After losing a closely-contested doubles point to the Hokies during the regular season, Notre Dame was victorious in the conference tournament. First off the court were Bass and Keckley, who won 8-5 at No. 3 against Angel Diankov and Brent Wilkins. The Irish team got a pair of service breaks early, which turned out to be enough. At No. 2, D’Amico and Langenkamp beat Adel Abbas and Andreas Laulund 8-6 to clinch the doubles point. The match began with three straight holds and then saw seven service breaks over the next eight games. After the slew of return success, the Irish duo was up 6-5. Two holds later, the duo had improved to 3-0 since being paired together for the first time in the regular-season finale. For the second day in a row, Haddock and Scott fought off impending defeat and eventually were rewarded by having their match abandoned when their teammates clinched the doubles point. Stephane Rod and Spanner led 7-6 and had a match point when Langenkamp fired an ace to finish the No. 2 match and force the abandonment of the No. 1 contest. King put Notre Dame up 2-0 by beating Diankov 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5. Virginia Tech got on the board when Rod of Switzerland completed a 6-3, 7-5 victory against D’Amico at No. 4. Langenkamp, playing singles again in place of Keckley, made the score 3-1 when he finished off the Egyptian, Abbas, in a 6-4, 6-2 decision at No. 6.
The final point would be the most difficult for Notre Dame. The Hokies pulled within one just moments after the No. 6 match ended, as #41 Laulund of Denmark topped Haddock, ranked 64th, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 at No. 1 in a battle of the only two nationally-ranked players in the BIG EAST Conference. At one point, it appeared that Scott would win his match in straight sets to deliver the Notre Dame victory and allow Bass to abandon his match. The Irish senior won the first set 6-4 and led 3-0 in the second before Spanner of Denmark staged a comeback. He rallied to win the second set 7-5 and then was up a break at 5-2 in the third when Notre Dame clinched the team match.
IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame earned one of the No. 33-48 seeds in this year’s NCAA tournament and will travel to Harvard for early-round action for the second time in four years. For the sixth year in a row, the NCAA Championships consist of a 64-squad team tournament with the field featuring 30 conference champions receiving automatic berths and 34 at-large entrants, selected by the NCAA. The first and second rounds of the team championship will be played at 16 campus sites from Friday-Sunday. The 16 remaining teams will advance to the national site, the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. for the final four rounds, to be contested May 22-25. This year’s seeding matches the lowest-ever for the Irish, who also were a No. 33-48 seed in 1999 when they lost 4-2 to Harvard in first-round action in Terre Haute, Ind.
Contested since 1883, the national championship was the National Intercollegiate Championship through 1945, with the winner based on point standings from individual singles and doubles play. The format stayed constant, but the tournament became the NCAA Championship in 1946 and remained unchanged for the next 30 years. In 1977, the NCAA Championship became a 20-team event with all teams picked on an at-large basis. In 1994, the event developed into a regional format with the top eight teams in the country and eight regional winners advancing to a bracket of 16, played at a national site. In 1999, the 64-team championship dropped the regional format and implemented first- and second-round matches at 16 campus sites for every team in the championship.
Notre Dame has qualified for the NCAA tournament in 13 of the last 14 seasons — a distinction matched by only 11 other Division I teams: Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA, and USC. Bob Bayliss is one of only four Division I coaches to have led his current team to 13 of the last 14 NCAA tournaments (also Stanford’s Dick Gould, Georgia’s Manuel Diaz, and Duke’s Jay Lapidus). Most of the best results for Notre Dame since the team format was adopted in 1977 came in the program’s first four berths into the championship, reaching the round of 16 in 1991 and ’94, the quarterfinals in ’93 and losing to Stanford in the ’92 NCAA title match. The Irish returned to the round of 16 in 2002. Notre Dame has won a pair of national titles, sharing the 1944 crown with Texas and Miami (Fla.) and earning another shared title with Tulane in 1959.
Notre Dame just missed the NCAAs a season ago. In its most recent appearance, the Irish played host to first- and second-round play in 2002, defeating Michigan (4-0) and Purdue (4-0) to move on to the round of 16 at Texas A&M, where they lost 4-1 to Illinois.
Notre Dame is 12-12 all-time in NCAA Championship play and other than a stretch of first-match losses from 1996-99, the Irish have posted at least one victory in each appearance. The Irish are 7-8 in NCAA competition when playing away from home, including 2-1 when playing on the opponents’ home courts. Notre Dame beat Georgia 5-4 in the quarterfinals in 1992 in Athens and downed Harvard 4-0 in the first round in 2001 in Cambridge, but lost 4-2 at UCLA in the 2000 second round.
This year marks just the second time since the field was expanded in 1994 that Notre Dame will play a team ranked 19th or higher to open the NCAAs. After gaining a first-round bye, the Irish beat #19 Minnesota in the semifinals of the NCAA Region IV Championship in 1995.
SCOUTING THE NCAA REGIONAL FIELD: Tulane, one of the No. 17-32 seeds, will be the first-round opponent for Notre Dame this season. The Green Wave stands 18-4 and ranked 19th in the nation, having won the Conference USA championship to garner the automatic bid to the NCAAs. Tulane enters the weekend with a nine-match winning streak, dating back to a 4-3 loss to VCU on March 13 in the semifinals of the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic. All of the Green Wave’s defeats this season have been by 4-3 scores (4-4 record in 4-3 matches), with San Diego, Mississippi State, and UL-Lafayette also beating Tulane. The Green Wave is appearing in the NCAA tournament for the eighth consecutive season. Tulane reached the round of 16 for the first time ever last year with wins over Southern and South Alabama before losing to Stanford. The Green Wave shared the 1959 national title with the Irish and also finished second twice prior to the change in format of the NCAAs. Notre Dame and Tulane have played three common opponents: Mississippi State, SMU, and VCU. The Irish beat the Mustangs (5-2), but lost to both the Bulldogs (4-3) and Rams (4-0), while the Green Wave beat SMU 4-3, lost by the same score to VCU, and split a pair of meetings with MSU (4-3 regular-season loss; 4-2 win in Blue/Gray quarterfinals). Senior Michael Kogan of Israel, a four-time Conference USA Player of the Year, is ranked 11th nationally in singles with a 16-4 record at No. 1, including 10 consecutive victories. Kogan is 113-27 (.807) in his career in singles, but one of his defeats came against Notre Dame’s Casey Smith (’02) in a 6-4, 7-5 decision at No. 1 in the 2001 Blue/Gray Classic. Junior Dmitriy Koch of Germany is ranked 46th with a 13-3 record this spring, mostly at No. 2. Kogan and freshman David Goulet of Quebec are 12th in the national doubles rankings with a 16-1 record and a 15-match winning streak dating back to their lone loss, on Feb. 14 vs. Mississippi State. Also, Sophomore Jacobo Hernandez of Mexico has won 13 in a row at Nos. 5 and 6 singles. None of Tulane’s 10 players are from the United States.
Quinnipiac, one of the No. 49-64 seeds, was unbeaten in five league matches during the season to take the Northeast Conference title, and the Bobcats then won the conference tournament to gain an automatic bid to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since becoming a Division I program. Quinnipiac’s 4-3 semifinal victory over Fairleigh Dickinson came down to the No. 5 contest, where Bobcat freshman Alex Altman rallied from a 5-2 third-set deficit to send his team to the final, where Quinnipiac beat Sacred Heart 4-0. The Bobcats are 14-5 on the season, and have not played any common opponents with the Irish.
Harvard is the No. 16 overall seed in the tournament despite being ranked lower than Tulane, at 21st. The Crimson are 21-6 this season and went 7-0 to win their 27th Ivy League title and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Harvard has won seven in a row, dating back to a 4-3 loss at Pepperdine on April 3. The Crimson holds a 10-1 record at home, with the lone loss a 4-3 affair with VCU. Its top wins this season came against #11 Kentucky (4-1) and #15 North Carolina (4-3). This is Harvard’s 19th appearance in the NCAA tournament and fourth in as many years. The Crimson and the Irish have played two common opponents: Northwestern and VCU. Both teams beat the Wildcats (Harvard 7-0, ND 5-2) and lost to the Rams (Harvard 4-3, ND 4-0). Senior David Lingman is ranked 36th with a 29-8 record on the season. Junior Jonathan Chu is ranked 89th with a 25-6 mark, while he and Lingman combine to be 46th in doubles, though they have not played together recently.
ALL-TIME SERIES vs. NCAA REGIONAL TEAMS: Notre Dame has not played against any of the other three Cambridge regional teams in the last two seasons. The Irish last saw Harvard in the semifinals of the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic in 2002 and played Tulane in that event in ’01. The Crimson lead the all-time series with Notre Dame 4-3, but the Irish have won three of the last four. The Green Wave and Notre Dame have split four meetings, while the Irish and Quinnipiac have never played.
Notre Dame’s first-round matchup will be a showdown between the teams that shared the 1959 NCAA championship, the second and most recent Irish national title. In dual-match action, the teams have split four meetings. This will be the fourth neutral-site match between the Irish and Tulane since 1998, as the squads have played in the Blue/Gray National Classic three times. Notre Dame won the most recent contest, 4-0 in the first round in 2001 en route to winning the event championship.
If they should meet in the second round, Notre Dame and Quinnipiac will be playing for the first time ever. The Bobcats would be the first Northeast Conference member ever to take on the Irish and would mark the 186th opponent in the 82-year history of varsity Irish tennis.
Harvard and the Irish have met twice in the last five years in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Crimson were victorious 4-2 in 1999 in Terre Haute, Ind., while Notre Dame won 4-0 in 2001 in Cambridge. Overall, Harvard has won four of the seven meetings, though the Irish have taken three of the last four. Notre Dame won the most recent contest, 4-3 in the semifinals of the 2002 Blue/Gray.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 17th year at Notre Dame with a 309-148 (.676) record and his 35th year as a collegiate head coach with a 591-242 (.709) mark. He ranks fifth among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories and has had just one losing season in his career. Bayliss is one of just four Division I mentors to have led his current team to 13 NCAA tournaments in the last 14 years. His squads have finished in the top 20 nine times in the past 14 years, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on five occasions, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 1993 and a national runner-up finish in ’92. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time midwest region coach of the year and has been honored as his conference’s top coach on 11 occasions, including his fourth BIG EAST honor this season. In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 11 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 17 times, won eight national ITA awards, and earned 15 invitations to the NCAA singles championship and 11 to the NCAA doubles tournament. A member of the University of Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English while playing tennis and basketball, Bayliss began his coaching career at Navy, where he coached for 11 years. He coached at MIT for three years before coming to Notre Dame in 1988.
ITA RANKINGS: After beating #49 Miami and #48 Virginia Tech to win its fourth BIG EAST title, Notre Dame jumped six spots to 30th in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, which are determined by the point-per-match computer formula. After beating Miami’s Josh Cohen and falling to #41 Andreas Laulund of Virginia Tech last week, senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) fell six positions to 70th in this week’s national singles rankings. He has won eight of his last 10 matches and stands 20-11 on the season, including 12-6 in dual matches. Haddock has been victorious in four of his last five matches against ranked opponents.
Bob Bayliss NAMED BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR FOR FOURTH TIME: Irish mentor Bob Bayliss was named the BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year for the fourth time in seven years when the league awards were announced earlier this month. It was the 11th time in Bayliss’ career he was named his conference’s top coach. He previously earned the BIG EAST honor in 1998, ’99, and 2002. Bayliss’ most recent team stands 15-8 and ranked 30th in the nation, having won eight of its last 11 matches, culminating with victories against Miami (4-1) and Virginia Tech (4-2), two teams that beat the Irish during the regular season, to win the BIG EAST title. The ’04 squad, ranked 24 spots above the final ranking of last year’s team, comes on the heels of Bayliss’ only losing season in 35 years of collegiate head coaching. The Irish earned a berth in the NCAA Championship this season, their 13th in the last 14 years. Bayliss is one of just four coaches in Division I to have led his current team to 13 NCAA tournaments over the last 14 seasons. Bayliss is in his 17th year at Notre Dame with a 309-148 (.676) record, while his career mark stands at 591-242 (.709). He ranks fifth among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories and has had just one losing season in his career. Bayliss’ Irish have finished in the top 20 nine times in the past 14 years, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on five occasions, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 1993 and a national runner-up finish in ’92. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time midwest region coach of the year. In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 11 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 17 times, won eight national ITA awards, and earned 15 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 11 to the NCAA doubles tournament.
IRISH DOMINATE BIG EAST ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: Notre Dame led all squads in selections to the BIG EAST all-tournament teams, taking up half of the six spots on the singles team and one of three in doubles. Senior tri-captains Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) both earned all-BIG EAST Championship honors in both singles and doubles, while freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), who clinched Notre Dame’s fourth BIG EAST title with a come-from-behind three-set victory, was tabbed in singles. The awards were determined by voting of conference head coaches, who were prohibited from voting for their own players.
This is just the second year the BIG EAST has named an all-tournament team, and Scott stands as the only player to earn all-tournament accolades in both singles and doubles both years, while he and Haddock are the only players to be double honorees in ’04. Scott stands 19-13 on the season with three victories over ranked players. He did not finish either of his singles contests in the BIG EAST tournament. In the semifinals, he rallied from a 5-2 deficit to win the first set in a tiebreaker against Colin Purcell of Miami. The Hurricane was up 4-1 in the second set when the match was abandoned due to Notre Dame clinching the team victory. In the final, Scott won the first set 6-4 against Soren Spanner, but the Hokie took the second 7-5 and was up 5-2 in the third when Notre Dame’s team championship was clinched.
Haddock was a singles honoree for the second consecutive season. He has won eight of his last 10 to improve to 20-11 on the season, which includes four wins over ranked opponents. Haddock has a 12-6 record in dual matches at No. 1 singles. He clinched Notre Dame’s semifinal win against Miami by rallying from losing the first set for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory against Josh Cohen, another all-tournament honoree in singles, at No. 1. Haddock then fell 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 to #41 Andreas Laulund, the BIG EAST Most Outstanding Tournament Player, in the title match.
After being just three points away from losing, with Arvid Puranen up 5-4 and 15-love in the third set, Bass won 12 consecutive points to rally for a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory at No. 3 singles to hand the Irish a 4-2 triumph over Virginia Tech in the league final. Bass has won five of his last six and stands 22-7 on the season, including 16-5 in dual matches at Nos. 3 and 4. He is 10-0 in three-set affairs, including 7-0 when the team match is still undecided. In the semifinals, Bass won the first set 6-3 against John Hoyes of Miami before losing the second set by the same score. The Irish rookie was up 3-0 in the decisive frame when the match was abandoned.
Haddock and Scott hold a 13-3 record this season, including 10-3 in dual matches. The seniors are 18-5 in their careers as a team. Both of their matches in the BIG EAST tournament ended the same way, with Haddock and Scott trailing 7-6 but refusing to succumb to defeat when Notre Dame clinched the doubles point. Their opponents were the other two all-tournament doubles teams: Purcell and Eric Hechtman of Miami and Spanner and Stephane Rod of Virginia Tech.
HADDOCK NAMED ALTERNATE TO NCAA SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) was named the fifth alternate to the 64-player field of the NCAA Singles Championship, it was announced last week. Haddock, 20-11 on the season and 12-6 in dual matches with four wins over ranked opponents, is currently ranked 70th after being as high as 57th earlier this spring. If he gains entry, he would be the 11th different Irish player to participate in the tournament since its current format was adopted in 1977. The most recent qualifer was Javier Taborga in 2002. The NCAA singles tournament runs May 26-31 at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.
HADDOCK, BASS NAMED CO-MVPS; D’AMICO THE ROCKNE STUDENT-ATHLETE: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) were named co-MVPs in a vote by their teammates, and junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) won the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award, when the major Irish team honors were announced last month. Haddock has been Notre Dame’s top singles player in each of the last two seasons, going 20-11 in 2003-04, including 12-6 in dual matches. He has been ranked as high as 57th in the nation in singles and is currently 70th and an alternate to the NCAA Singles Championship. Haddock also leads the Irish in doubles victories with a 20-8 record, including 11-5 in dual action at Nos. 1 and 2. Bass has been Notre Dame’s most consistent winner and top crunch-time player this season. He is 22-7 overall in singles, including 16-5 in dual matches. He is 10-0 in three-set matches, including 7-0 when the team match is still undecided. His biggest victory of the season clinched the BIG EAST title for the Irish, when Bass came back from being three points away from defeat to win 12 consecutive points to capture the third set and give Notre Dame a 4-2 win over Virginia Tech. D’Amico, who has been a regular for the Irish at mostly No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles, holds a team-high 3.701 cumulative grade-point average and has been named to the Dean’s List on four occasions.
HADDOCK HONORED WITH BYRON V. KANALEY AWARD: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) was one of five Notre Dame seniors honored with the Byron V. Kanaley Award last month. The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to student-athletes, has been given each year since 1927 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. Chosen by the University’s Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are name in honor of Byron V. Kanaley, a 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the Irish baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960. Other 2004 recipients were women’s golfer Shannon Byrne, women’s tennis player Alicia Salas, women’s soccer standout Vanessa Pruzinsky, and women’s volleyball player Kristen Kinder. Haddock is the eighth men’s tennis player to win the Kanaley Award and first since Andy Warford in 1999.
IRISH 5-1 SINCE SPRING BREAK: Notre Dame is playing its best tennis heading into the NCAA Championship, as the Irish hold a 5-1 record since returning from their spring break trip. The lone defeat since March 14 was a 4-3 loss at Virginia Tech on April 4, but Notre Dame avenged that decision in the final of the BIG EAST Championship. Since March 1, Notre Dame has won eight of 11 matches.
ALL SIX IRISH NON-CONFERENCE LOSSES CAME AGAINST TOP-30 TEAMS: All six of Notre Dame’s losses out of conference this season came against teams ranked in the national top 30 at the time of the match (as well as now). The Irish lost 7-0 to #1 Illinois and #8 Duke, fell 4-0 vs. #11 VCU, lost 5-2 against #9 Texas A&M, and couldn’t hold on to leads in dropping 4-3 decisions against #12 Ohio State and #27 Mississippi State.
PLENTY OF TIGHT MATCHES AGAIN FOR IRISH: For the second year in a row, around half of the Irish matches have been decided by three-set contests. Twelve of Notre Dame’s 23 matches this season have come down to three-set affairs, as they have been undecided after the doubles and two-set singles matches are completed. The Irish are 8-4 in those matches. A season ago, 10 of Notre Dame’s 22 contests were decided by three-setters, with the Irish winning half of them. Despite losing four times, the Irish hold a 22-10 record in three-setters in undecided matches this spring. Notre Dame won all four three-set affairs against SMU, took all three vs. Illinois State, and won four of five against both Indiana and Michigan. The Irish are 1-3 in 4-3 matches, including 0-2 when the score is tied 3-3.
HALF OF NOTRE DAME LOSSES CAME DOWN TO THREE-SET MATCHES: Four of Notre Dame’s eight defeats came in matches that were undecided when the doubles and two-set singles matches were complete. A brief recap of those situations is below.
* On Feb. 28, Notre Dame, playing without No. 1 singles player Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.), came up just short in an upset bid against #12 Ohio State, eventually falling 4-3. The Buckeyes won three of four three-setters, and the match came down to the Nos. 5 and 6 tilts left with the Irish up 3-2. Ross Wilson topped freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the higher position, and Dennis Mertens downed sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 at No. 6 to allow the Buckeyes to escape with the victory.
* One day later, the Haddock-less Irish again fell just shy in their quest for an upset, eventually losing 5-2 to #33 Miami. The match again came down to the bottom two positions, this time with the Hurricanes up 3-2. Colin Purcell beat Keckley 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 at No. 5, and Jeremiah Fuller came back to win a second-set tiebreaker and a match tiebreaker against Langenkamp at No. 6.
* In consolation action in the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic, #27 Mississippi State rallied from one-set deficits for a pair of three-set wins in coming back from a 3-1 disadvantage to beat the Irish on March 13. Florent Girod rallied to beat freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 to tie the score 3-3, which left it up to the No. 2 match. In that contest, Jose-Carlos Pinto beat senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to give MSU the triumph.
* On April 4 in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech pulled out a 4-3 victory. The Hokies won 9-7 at No. 2 doubles and then 9-8 (9-7) at No. 3 to take a 1-0 lead and then had Angel Diankov beat Keckley 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 at No. 6 to clinch the victory. King then downed Adel Abbas 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 at No. 5 to account for the final margin.
PAIR OF TOP-25 UPSETS A TALL ORDER FOR IRISH: In order to advance to the round of 16 in this year’s NCAA Championship, Notre Dame will have to upset at least one and possibly two top-25 teams this weekend. The Irish will take on #19 Tulane in the first round and could face host #21 Harvard in the second round. Notre Dame has lost 14 consecutive matches against top-25 opponents over the last two-and-a-half seasons. The last Irish victory over a team ranked among the top 25 in the country came on March 7, when #6 Notre Dame edged #5 Illinois 4-3 in Champaign. That still stands as the most recent home loss for the defending national champion Illini. The Irish are 0-5 against top-25 teams this season, though they were edged 4-3 by #12 Ohio State on Feb. 28 in a match that came down to a third set at No. 6 singles despite Notre Dame playing without its top singles player, senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.). Last season, the Irish were 0-6 vs. top-25 foes, though a 4-2 decision against #8 Duke came down to a pair of three-setters with the team match still undecided. In 2001-02, Notre Dame won four of its first six matches with top-25 teams before losing three straight to finish the season.
IRISH STRONG AGAINST LOWER-RANKED TEAMS: Though it is unlikely Notre Dame will face a lower-ranked team again this season, the Irish have been outstanding against foes that have come into the contest with a lower national ranking at the time of the match, going 11-1 this spring. The lone defeat was a 4-3 decision at Virginia Tech, when the 50th-ranked Hokies upset #26 Notre Dame. The Irish were 7-4 vs. lower-ranked teams a season ago.
IRISH EXCEL IN THREE-SET MATCHES: Notre Dame has been outstanding in three-set singles matches this season, as its players have a 35-17 (.673) record in three-setters in 2003-04, including 22-10 (.688) this spring when the team outcome is still undetermined. Only two of the 10 Irish players who have taken part in three-setters this season have losing records in them. The master of three-set affairs for the Irish has been freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), who holds a 10-0 mark, including a come-from-behind win to clinch the BIG EAST title against Virginia Tech. Another rookie, Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), is 5-1, while junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) is 3-1 and sophomores Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) and Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) are both 2-1. Senior tri-captains Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) are 5-3 and 5-4, respectively.
HADDOCK WINS FOUR STRAIGHT AGAINST RANKED FOES: After going winless in three matches against ranked foes this season until that point, senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) won four in a row over ranked opponents from March 11-April 12, while being forced to abandon another would-be upset, up a set and a service break. The run began when Haddock beat #51 Greg Shearer of Fresno State 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the Blue/Gray National Classic. The following day, the Irish senior appeared to be on his way to a repeat upset, leading 6-4, 3-2 vs. #84 Pedro Nieto of VCU when the match was abandoned. On the third day of the Blue/Gray, Haddock gained an upset win against #13 Romain Ambert of Mississippi State, when the Bulldog retired after losing the first set, 6-2. Each of the final two matches of the regular season resulted in Haddock upsets, as he defeated #57 Andreas Laulund of Virginia Tech 6-3, 6-4 on April 4 before topping two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Mat Cloer of Florida State, ranked 19th, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 eight days later. Haddock has won eight of his last 10 and is 20-11 this season, including 12-6 in dual matches at No. 1. He has 16 career wins against ranked foes and had never beaten anyone ranked higher than 47th until this season.
STREAKING STEPHEN: Freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) has been Notre Dame’s most consistent winner in singles this season. He leads the team in both overall and dual-match victories, sporting a 22-7 record, including 16-5 in dual matches at Nos. 3 and 4. He has won nine of his last 11 contests and was 11-2 in home matches. Bass holds a brilliant 10-0 record in three-set contests (7-0 when the team match is undecided), including winning the final 12 points after being three points from defeat to clinch the BIG EAST title against Virginia Tech last month. Bass amazingly has a winning record – 7-6 – when dropping the first set, and also is 8-3 against Midwest Region opponents.
BASS, D’AMICO, BUCHANAN PERFECT IN THE CLUTCH THIS SEASON: Junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]), sophomore Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) have combined for a 10-0 record this season in three-set matches when the team outcome is undecided following the completion of the two-setters. Bass is unbeaten in seven tries, winning against USC (fall exhibition), Indiana, Illinois State, SMU, Ohio State, Michigan, and Virginia Tech in the BIG EAST final. D’Amico was victorious against the Hoosiers and Northwestern, while Buchanan won in his only time in the situation this spring, vs. the Redbirds.
KING, KECKLEY, LANGENKAMP MAKE BOTTOM OF SINGLES LINEUP STRENGTH FOR IRISH: A trio of young players — sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and freshmen Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) — have made the bottom of Notre Dame’s singles lineup a strength this season, combining for a 31-15 record in dual matches this spring, including 17-3 since March 1. King, 13-7 overall in dual play, has won five in a row and seven of nine since March 7, with most of those matches coming at No. 5. His lone defeats both came in three sets, one against Mississippi State in the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic and one against Michigan. Five of King’s wins over the past two-and-a-half months have seen his opponent win six games or fewer. After opening 1-4 in dual-match singles play, Keckley has won six of his last seven, including a pair of clinching victories. Most of his matches have come at No. 6, and his only defeat was a three-setter against Virginia Tech. Langenkamp, who has played mostly due to injuries to his teammates, is 20-5 on the season, including 11-3 in dual matches. He is 4-0 since March 2, playing No. 6 in those matches.
TURNING IT AROUND AT No. 3 DOUBLES: Due to a flu-like illness that struck some members of the Irish just prior to the BIG EAST Championship, Notre Dame changed its No. 3 doubles team, which turned out to reap benefits. Freshmen Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), who had not previously played together, combined for a pair of victories in helping the Irish win the doubles point en route to wins over Miami and Virginia Tech. The rookies beat Josh Cohen and P.J. Passalacqua 8-4 in the semis and then topped Angel Diankov and Brent Wilkins 8-5 in the title match. During the regular season, Notre Dame was just 7-13, using eight different combinations at No. 3.
LET’S TRY THESE TWO TOGETHER: Notre Dame has used 22 different doubles combinations this season, including 16 different pairs in dual-match action. It continues a recent trend of head coach Bob Bayliss frequently tinkering with his doubles teams. A year ago, 25 different teams saw time together, while 27 pairs played in official matches in 2001-02. That ’02 spring season also saw 17 teams participate in dual matches. This season, the Irish have used five different pairs at No. 1, seven at No. 2, and nine combos at No. 3, though five of those teams have played in multiple slots.
HADDOCK AMONG WINNINGEST PLAYERS UNDER BAYLISS: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) enters his final NCAA Championship with career records of 91-41 in singles and 70-41 in doubles. He is one of only five players in the Bob Bayliss era to have 90 career singles wins and 70 doubles victories, joining David DiLucia (’92; 146-33 in singles; 73-30 in doubles), Ryan Sachire (’00; 138-44; 73-32), Andy Zurcher (’94; 128-60; 78-41), and Ryan Simme (’97; 96-62; 77-40). Haddock ranks ninth on both the career singles and career combined victories lists.
SCOTT MOVING UP CAREER SINGLES WINS LIST: Senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) enters his final NCAA tournament with a career singles record of 83-39. That places him in an 11th-place tie with Brian Patterson (’99) on the career singles victories list among players under Bob Bayliss .
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) has been outstanding for the Irish this season, compiling an 20-5 record in singles, including 11-3 in dual matches at Nos. 5 and 6. He also is 12-7 in doubles (8-5 dual). As a freshman, he was winless in six dual-match appearances in singles, finishing 9-12 overall.
SENIOR CAPTAINS A DOUBLES FORCE: Head coach Bob Bayliss’ decision to pair together his senior tri-captains, Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), beginning Feb. 15, has paid dividends. The duo is 13-3 this season and has become Notre Dame’s top doubles team. Haddock and Scott were 9-2 at No. 2 and have split a pair of matches at the top of the lineup. They hold a career mark of 18-5 and peaked at 29th in the national rankings earlier this season. Haddock and Scott are 8-1 against Midwest Region foes in 2003-04 and 7-0 in home matches.
DON’T GET COCKY: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) have been adept at rallying from losing the first set for a victory this season. Haddock is 6-7 when losing the opening frame, while Bass actually has a winning record — 7-6 — when losing the first set.
FABULOUS FRESHMEN: Notre Dame’s freshman class has been a big part of its success this season, as Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) have been regulars in the Irish lineups, while Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) and Bobby McNally (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Preparatory School) have also seen occasional dual-match action. Bass leads the Irish in overall and dual singles victories, holding a 22-7 record (16-5 dual), playing Nos. 3 and 4. King is 17-10 (13-7 dual) playing Nos. 3, 4, and 5, while Keckley is 13-7 (7-5 dual) at Nos. 4, 5, and 6. Keckley became just the second Irish freshman ever to earn a national ranking in doubles, and he has played No. 1 most of the season (10-10 record). King and Bass also have seen time in the doubles lineup.
IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The road to the 2004 NCAA Championship has been challenging for Notre Dame. Of the 21 dual-match opponents the Irish faced this season, 10 of them earned berths in this year’s NCAA tournament and 16 of them are in this week’s ITA national rankings, including nine in the top 35. Two Irish foes – #1 Illinois (L, 0-7) and #6 Duke (L, 0-7) – are in the top 10, while #12 VCU (L, 0-4), #17 Ohio State (L, 3-4) and #24 Texas A&M (L, 2-5) are also in the top 25.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS ON TV: The 2004 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships will receive more television coverage than ever before. The women’s team final will air on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2 on June 2 at 3 p.m. (EDT) (2 p.m. in South Bend). The Tennis Channel will provide tape-delayed coverage of the finals of the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, slated to premiere on June 5 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (EDT) and re-air numerous times.
BAYLISS GETS 300TH WIN AT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame’s 5-2 win at Northwestern on Feb. 21 marked the 300th for head coach Bob Bayliss since he took over the reins of the Irish program in 1987-88. He holds a 307-148 (.675) record in 16-plus seasons leading Notre Dame. He is second on the Irish all-time wins list behind his predecessor, Tom Fallon, who had a 514-194 (.726) record in 31 years coaching the Irish. Bayliss holds a 589-242 (.709) overall record in 35 years as a head coach.
IRISH LAND TWO RECRUITS FOR NEXT SEASON: Bob Bayliss recently announced the signing of two incoming freshmen for the 2004-05 school year, both of whom are among the top 30 American high school seniors. Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) and Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/The Tenney School) have signed national letters of intent to enroll at Notre Dame next year and join the Irish tennis team. Parbhu is ranked 57th in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Boys’ 18-and-under national rankings and is 30th among high school seniors. Last season, he won the Nebraska state singles championship. Roth is 33rd in the latest USTA 18s rankings and is 19th among players who will begin college in the fall. He is the current 18-and-under champion of the Texas section of the USTA and was the No. 1 player on the Texas Junior Davis Cup team.
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eileen Carroll at email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.