March 19, 2009
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The men’s tennis team defeated Mississippi State in first round action at the 2009 Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. With the win, Notre Dame improves to 9-7 on the season, while Mississippi State drops to 5-6 on the year.
Notre Dame, currently ranked 26th, dropped the doubles point, as the Bulldogs earned wins at second and third doubles. At first doubles, Notre Dame’s 25th-ranked team of senior Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and sophomore Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) downed Christopher Doerr and Tanner Stump, 8-5. At second doubles, Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) were defeated by Louis Cant and Artem Ilyushin in a close match, 9-8. At third doubles, Mississippi State’s tandem of Antonio Lustre and Ryan Farlow beat Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland) and Matt Johnson (Portage, Mich./Portage Central), 8-5.
The Irish quickly tied the overall match at 1-1 as 22nd-ranked Helgeson rolled to a straight sets win over Farlow, 6-4, 6-0 at first singles. Then Fitzgerald put the Irish up 2-1 with a win at sixth singles against Stump, 7-6, 6-1.
Doerr then answered for the Bulldogs with a 7-6, 6-3 win at fifth singles over Notre Dame’s David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich), tying the match at 2-2.
Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), playing at fourth singles, and Watt, playing at third singles, earned the next two wins to secure the Irish victory. Stahl took out Cant, 7-5, 6-3. Watt won his match versus Lastre, 7-6, 0-6, 6-2.
With the match already decided, Stephen Havens’ match at second singles remained unfinished. Havens was tied with Ilyushin, 5-5, in the third set. He had dropped the first set, 3-6, before recovering to take the second, 7-5.
The other winners on day one of the event included Alabama (ranked 24), Auburn (30), Boise State (22), Oklahoma State (25), Tennessee (4), Texas Tech (33) and Wisconsin (29).
The Irish play again at the Blue Gray National Classic tomorrow, March 20 versus 22nd-ranked Boise State at 2:30 p.m. (EST). Live scoring of the Blue Gray National Classic Invitational will be available through the Blue Gray’s official website: www.bluegraytennis.com, while daily recaps will be posted on und.com.
NOTES: 2009 marks the 60th year of the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic … the Irish have taken part in the classic every year since 1991 … Notre Dame now holds a 40-22 all-time record at the event … the Irish are three-time champions, having won the tournament in 1993, 2001 and 2007 … the Irish earned runner-up status in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2006.