Sept. 23, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will send three players to Peachtree City, Ga. this weekend to compete in the adidas Invitational from Thursday through Sunday. Senior tri-captains Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) will play both singles and doubles, while freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), the 18-and-under national champion of Ireland who missed the season-opening tournament with tendinitis in his wrist, will make his collegiate debut in singles.
ADIDAS INVITATIONAL: Notre Dame will send three players to compete in the adidas Invitational, which features a field consisting of competitors from a number of top teams. Among the schools sending participants are Arizona State, Duke, Louisville, Tennessee, TCU, and Wisconsin. The event features singles and doubles main and consolation draws. Only doubles will be played Thursday, while the final three days will feature both singles and doubles action.
The Irish will send only a limited number of participants this weekend in order to conserve playing dates for each individual. Senior tri-captains Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), as well as freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), will compete in singles, while the seniors also will play doubles.
This will mark Notre Dame’s first-ever participation in the adidas Invitational.
LAST TIME ON THE COURTS: Notre Dame opened the season in impressive fashion, winning three of four flight championships in singles and one of two in doubles in the Rice Crowne Plaza Invitational Sept. 12-14. In all, Irish players were 22-5 in singles and 5-3 in doubles. Among the top Notre Dame performers were four players who went undefeated in singles, including a pair of rookies who did not lose in singles or doubles in their first collegiate event.
Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), a finalist in the USTA Boys’ 18s Super National Clay Court Championships over the summer, won three matches to win the B singles flight championship. He teamed with fellow freshman Bobby McNally (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Preparatory School) in flight B doubles action, gaining a first-round bye before winning two matches to capture that title. In singles play, McNally also was perfect, winning a trio of flight D matches. In other flight D play, freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph H.S.) completed an undefeated singles weekend to gain a share of the flight’s championship. Sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) also came away with a singles title, winning the flight C championship.
Each of the other five Notre Dame players competing were 2-1 in singles. Highlighting those results was senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), who was 2-1 playing against three players ranked in the nation’s top 60. On Friday, Scott fell in a match tiebreaker to #21 William Barker of Rice. But he rebounded with wins on Saturday against #58 Dustin Taylor of Tulsa and vs. #18 Richard Barker of Rice on Sunday.
Notre Dame struggled early on Friday when rain forced some of the matches indoors to the fast courts of the Met Business and Sports Club. But once the weather cleared up, the Irish took control, winning 24 of 28 matches played outdoors at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
Notre Dame’s four freshmen played particularly well in their first collegiate matches, combining to go 11-1 in singles and 7-3 in doubles.
THE HARDER THEY FALL: Senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) started the season by challenging a trio of players ranked among the nation’s top 60, winning twice, in the Rice Crowne Plaza Invitational. In the first match of the season, Scott lost a first-set tiebreaker, but rallied for a 7-5 victory in the second frame before dropping a match tiebreaker to #21 William Barker of Rice. The following day, Scott dropped the opening set, but again came back, this time for a 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 triumph over Tulsa’s 58th-ranked Dustin Taylor. Rice’s #18 Richard Barker fell victim to the Irish senior on the final day of the tournament in a 6-2, 6-3 decision. The win was Scott’s second over a top-20 player in his career. He was winless in eight matches against ranked opponents a year ago and now has four career victories vs. ranked foes.
FANTASTIC FRESHMEN: Notre Dame’s first-year competitors combined for an outstanding first weekend of collegiate action. The four that competed in the Rice Crowne Plaza Invitational posted an 11-1 record in singles, while going 7-3 in doubles. Both Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Bobby McNally (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Preparatory School) did not drop a match in either singles or doubles. Bass won the B flight singles title and teamed with McNally to take the B flight doubles championship. McNally and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph H.S.) each were 3-0 in D flight singles play, which featured only round robin play. Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) finished third in C flight singles. The fifth Irish freshman, Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), missed the season opener with tendinitis in his wrist.
FALL FELLAS: Notre Dame senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and sophomore Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) have both had a great deal of success in fall play. Haddock holds a 34-8 (.810) record in first-semester play throughout his career, while Buchanan started last fall by winning his first six matches.
CAPTAINS EARN PRESEASON NATIONAL RANKINGS: All three Irish tri-captains earned mention in the preseason Intercollegiate Tennis Assocation (ITA) national singles and doubles rankings, released earlier this month. Senior Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and junior Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) each gained career-best listings in singles, coming in at 64th and 100th, respectively. In doubles, D’Amico and senior Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) are ranked for the first time, at 50th.
THREE OF A KIND: After never having tri-captains in the first 80 seasons of Notre Dame varsity tennis, the Irish have had three team leaders in each of the last two seasons. A year ago, Brian Farrell was joined by Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris). The latter two return as captains this season, becoming the 10th and 11th players in school history to serve multiple terms. They are joined by junior Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School). In all, 74 teams had a single captain, five had a pair, and the 1984 squad was captainless.
TOUGH DUAL SLATE AWAITS IRISH: During the spring dual-match season, Notre Dame will face a schedule including the defending national champions and nine NCAA tournament participants from a year ago. The Irish will have 10 home matches, highlighted by the first-ever visit by Texas A&M (Jan. 23), which finished ’03 ranked 11th in the nation, as well as matches against Kentucky (Jan. 27, ranked 16th at end of ’03), Ohio State (Feb. 28, 17th), and BIG EAST rival Miami (Feb. 29, 33rd). Notre Dame also will have a number of difficult road trips, including matches at defending NCAA champion Illinois (Feb. 26) and Duke (Jan. 31), which was ranked ninth at the end of last season. The Irish will face four opponents they did not see in ’03: Texas A&M, St. John’s (Jan. 25 at home), Illinois State (Jan. 25 at home), and St. Joseph’s (March 7 in La Jolla, Calif.).
The fall slate features seven events, but three will be for just the top two or three Irish players. Notre Dame’s two home dates are the Oct. 3-5 Tom Fallon Invitational and an exhibition match vs. USC on Oct. 17.
IRISH EXCEL ACADEMICALLY, AS WELL: Notre Dame was one of 24 Division I men’s tennis programs to earn a 2002-03 ITA All-Academic Team award, which goes to teams with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or better. The Irish were one of just four squads to earn the distinction and finish in the top 55 in the final national rankings. Notre Dame, which had a 3.273 team average, was led by senior Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and junior Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School), who also were named ITA Scholar-Athletes for earning a monogram and maintaining at least a 3.50 GPA for the season.
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 all 26 varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website, 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 needed information about the Irish tennis program.