Feb. 8, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Irish men’s tennis team defeated Duke in their first of two matches of Sunday afternoon by a 5-2 margin inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. In Notre Dame’s second match, the Irish knocked off Toledo in perfect form, 7-0, to move their overall record back to the .500 mark at 4-4.
Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) took down Reid Carleton and Dylan Arnould at second doubles in the first match to finish. Watt and Havens jumped out to a 2-1 lead and never looked back, going on to win by a score of 8-2.
Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Matt Johnson (Portage, Mich./Portage Central HS) once again paired up at third doubles. But Duke’s Torsten Wietoska and David Holland proved victorious to tie the overall doubles score at 1-1. Fitzgerald and Johnson were winning, 5-4, but ended up on the wrong side of an 8-5 decision.
At first doubles, Notre Dame’s 37th-ranked tandem of Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan HS) faced Duke’s 38th-ranked team of Kiril Dimitrov and Alain Michel. With the doubles point up for grabs, the Irish held a 7-4 advantage. Helgeson then served for the win, as Davis was able to finish the decisive point at the net, giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
At fifth singles, Fitzgerald was defeated by Wietoska 6-1, 6-2; tying the overall match at 1-1.
Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) played at sixth singles versus Holland. Keeton was down, 3-2 but the freshman reeled off the next four to take the set, 6-3. He jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set before prevailing 6-2 to put the Irish back on top. Keeton is now undefeated in singles play, 6-0, on the season.
Moments later, Watt downed Jared Pinsky at fourth singles to give the Irish a 3-1 lead. Watt won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
At third singles Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) played Arnould in what proved to be the deciding match. Stahl took the first set, 6-3. The second set went to a tie-breaker, with Stahl coming through for the clinching point, 7-6 (8-6).
At second singles, Havens fell to Dimitrov, who is ranked 45th, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Helgeson, ranked 20th, played at first singles versus Reid Carleton, ranked 25th. Helgeson dropped the first set, 6-4, before battling back to take the second set, 7-6 (7-4). In the third-set tie-break, Helgeson won 10-6.
Helgeson and Davis got the Irish off to a fast start in the doubles point, taking down the Toledo tandem of Jared Miller and Nulthavit Likitkumchorn at first doubles with a perfect score of 8-0.
At third doubles the Irish team of David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich HS) and Sean Tan (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) got their first taste of dual match action this season. Trailing 5-6 against the Rockets’ pairing of Aleksandar Elezovic and Levi Lee-Bent, the Irish earned a tough break to square the match at 6-6. However, the Rockets quickly responded earning a break themselves and closing out the match on serve, 8-6.
The doubles point came down to second doubles, where the Irish pairing of Havens and Watt squared off against the Toledo duo of Robbie McCallum and Sven Burus. The first six games of the match went the way of the serving team, keeping the match level at 3-3. Toledo earned the first break of the match to make the score 4-3, but the Irish countered right back by breaking, holding and breaking again to go up 6-4. Toledo gained a little momentum, breaking the Irish to get the match back on serve at 6-5. However, the Irish broke back and then clinched the doubles point on serve by the final score of 8-6. The win marked the fourth consecutive by the pairing, and moves their overall dual record to 6-2 at second doubles.
Singles got off to much the same start as the doubles match did, with the Irish capturing a decisive point. At second singles Havens made quick work of Toledo’s Burus. After dropping the initial game to trail 0-1, Havens went on to capture 12 of the next 13 games to earn a two set win (6-2, 6-0) and move the Irish advantage to 2-0 on the match.
The Irish saw their match lead grow to 3-0, as Davis was able to knock off Lee-Bent by the score of 6-3, 6-4. The singles match marked the first time Davis had competed in singles on the dual season since dropping a tough three-set decision to Alejandro Moreno and then fourteenth-ranked Pepperdine (4-6, 6-4, 6-7).
At fifth singles, Notre Dame’s Anderson was able to clinch the overall match victory by defeating Jayson Miller in straight sets (6-1, 6-2). The match victory evened Anderson’s dual match record at 1-1 and marked the first time on the season that he competed for the Irish at fifth singles.
Helgeson kept the Irish momentum going as he earned his second victory of the day at first singles by defeating Jared Miller in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. The victory improved Helgeson to 4-3 on the dual season, with all of the decisions coming from the first spot.
At third singles the Irish sent out Watt in his first ever match in that position. He responded nicely, earning another straight set victory for the Irish, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2. The point moved the Irish to a 6-0 lead and one point away from the shutout victory with only fourth singles left to conclude.
However, Toledo was not going to go away easily. The Irish sent out Fitzgerald to face off against Elezovic. Fitzgerald got off to a solid start, capturing the opening set, 6-3. Elezovic continued to battle for the Rockets, taking the second set to a tie-break and eventually capturing the set 7-6 (7-5). With the overall match in hand, the two players decided their match with a race to ten points in a third-set tie-breaker. Fitzgerald jumped out early, capturing a 5-2 advantage before seeing his lead dwindle to 6-4. However, Fitzgerald countered, capturing the final four points of the match and clinching the perfect game for the Irish (6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 1-0 (10-4)).
The victory pushes Notre Dame’s record to 4-4 on the season and marks their third consecutive win since getting off to a 1-4 start. The match also marked the first opponent the Irish have faced on the season which has not been nationally ranked.
The Irish return to the courts on Saturday, February 14 when they face Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan. The match is slated to begin at noon.
#25 Notre Dame 5, #36 Duke 2 Sunday, February 8, 2009 Eck Tennis Pavilion * Notre Dame, Ind.
Singles competition 1. #20 Brett Helgeson (UND) def. #25 Reid Carleton (DUKE) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-6) 2. #45 Kiril Dimitrov (DUKE) def. Stephen Havens (UND) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 3. #112 Daniel Stahl (UND) def. Dylan Arnould (DUKE) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) 4. Casey Watt (UND) def. Jared Pinsky (DUKE) 6-4, 6-4 5. Torsten Wietoska (DUKE) def. Niall Fitzgerald (UND) 6-1, 6-2 6. Samuel Keeton (UND) def. David Holland (DUKE) 6-3, 6-2
Doubles competition: 1. #37 Brett Helgeson/Tyler Davis (UND) def. #38 Kiril Dimitrov/Alain Michel (DUKE) 8-4 2. Stephen Havens/Casey Watt (UND) def. Reid Carleton/Dylan Arnould (DUKE) 8-2 3. Torsten Wietoska/David Holland (DUKE) def. Niall Fitzgerald/Matt Johnson (UND) 8-5
Match Notes: Duke 3-3; National ranking #36 Notre Dame 3-4; National ranking #25 Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,6,4,3,2,1)
#25 Notre Dame 7, Toledo 0 Sunday, February 8, 2009 Eck Tennis Pavilion * Notre Dame, Ind.
Singles competition: 1. #20 Brett Helgeson (UND) def. Jared Miller (TOL) 6-4, 6-2 2. Stephen Havens (UND) def. Sven Burus (TOL) 6-2, 6-0 3. Casey Watt (UND) def. Nulth Liktikumchorn (TOL) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 4. Niall Fitzgerald (UND) def. Aleksandar Elezovic (TOL) 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 1-0 (10-4) 5. David Anderson (UND) def. Jayson Miller (TOL) 6-1, 6-2 6. Tyler Davis (UND) def. Levi Bent-Lee (TOL) 6-3, 6-4
Doubles competition: 1. #37 Brett Helgeson/Tyler Davis (UND) def. Jared Miller/Nulth Liktikumchorn (TOL) 8-0 2. Stephen Havens/Casey Watt (UND) def. Robbie McCallum/Sven Burus (TOL) 8-5 3. Aleksandar Elezovic/Levi Bent-Lee (TOL) def. David Anderson/Sean Tan (UND) 8-6
Match Notes: Toledo 6-5 Notre Dame 4-4; National ranking #25 Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,6,5,1,3,4)