Blas Moros earned a singles win at the Tribe Invitational.

Irish Set For NCAA Showdown Versus Wisconsin

May 12, 2010

Complete NCAA 1st & 2nd Round Notes Get Acrobat Reader

2010 NCAA Championship
Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex — Champaign, Ill.

Friday, May 14
NCAA First Round, 1:00 p.m. (EST):
Notre Dame (15-12) vs. Wisconsin (19-7)

NCAA First Round, 4:00 p.m. (EST):
13th-seeded Illinois (19-10) vs. Xavier (17-7)

Saturday, May 15
NCAA Second Round, 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Winner of match one (ND/Wisc.) vs.
Winner of match two (Ill./Xavier)

NCAA Championship Preview
The Notre Dame men’s tennis team has earned an at-large berth into the 64-team 2010 NCAA Championship field it was announced by the NCAA men’s tennis selection committee on May 4. At 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 14, the Irish will face Wisconsin in Champaign, Ill. in first round action. Led by head coach Bobby Bayliss, the Irish have now been selected to play in 19 of the last 20 NCAA team championship draws.

Illinois, which is serving as the host site as the 13th overall seed in the championship draw, will play Xavier in the site’s other first round match. The winners of Friday’s matches will then square off the following day at 2:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the NCAA Championship round of 16.

For the 11th consecutive year, the NCAA men’s tennis championship features a field of 64 teams, consisting of 31 automatic-qualifying conference champions and 33 at-large selections. All the first and second round macthes are scheduled to take place on May 14-16 at 16 campus sites. The winner of the second-round matches at each site will advance to Athens, Ga. The University of Georgia will play host to the final four rounds of the team tournament as well as the national championship draws for singles and doubles play from May 20-31.

Following The Irish In Rounds 1 & 2
Daily recaps will be posted at, while Illinois will provide live stats of the Champaign regional matches. Live stats can be accessed at: or by clicking on the link located on the right-hand side of Notre Dame’s men’s tennis schedule page.

Select Company
The Irish have been invited to 19 of the last 20 NCAA Tournaments, making them one of just 10 schools to have accomplished that feat along with Duke, Florida, Georgia, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA, and USC. Head coach Bobby Bayliss is one of only two Division I coaches – along with Georgia’s Manuel Diaz – to have led his current team to at least 19 NCAA bids in the last 20 years.

Familiar Territory
In addition to appearing in 19 of the past 20 NCAA Championship draws, the Irish are making their 39th overall appearance in NCAA play, though the team and individual formats have changed since Notre Dame made its first appearance in 1943.

Notre Dame won the NCAA Championship in 1959, along with Tulane, when the tournament was based on points gained from individual singles and doubles victories. The Irish also tied with Texas and Miami (Fla.) to win the national title in 1944, when only wins from the quarterfinals or later counted as team points. Notre Dame finished in the top 10 at the NCAAs 17 times from 1943-67.

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, which was played at a national site. In 1999, the championship expanded to 64 teams, dropping the regional format and implementing first and second-round matches at 16 campus sites for every team in the championship.

Notre Dame has reached the round of 16 on seven occasions, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 1992 and a 1993 quarterfinal result. The Irish lost in the opening round in 2004, `05 and `08, but reached the Round of 16 in 2006 and `07. Overall, the Irish are 16-17 in NCAA tournament play including 6-12 on neutral courts and 3-1 against teams playing on their home court.

Badger Bits
The Badgers concluded regular season play with a 19-8 record and are ranked 27th in the most recent Campbell/ITA rankings. Wisconsin dropped two of its final three contests on the year, both of which came at the hands of the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-3 and 4-0, respectively; with the 4-0 defeat coming in Big Ten tournament play. OSU went on to win the Big Ten title.

Senior Moritz Baumann and junior Marek Michalicka lead the Badgers at the top of the singles lineup as both are ranked nationally in the top 30. Baumann is ranked 24th, while Michalicka will enter play ranked 30th. The two also find themselves ranked as the 15th-best tandem on the doubles circuit as well. The Wisconsin-Notre Dame Series

Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 48-16, and the Irish hold an 18-5 edge under head coach Bobby Bayliss. Notre Dame has won 18 of the last 20 meetings between the two teams, dating back to the 1992 season, but Wisconsin has captured two of the last three contests.

This season, Notre Dame earned a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Badgers on Feb. 28 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Wisconsin was able to capture the doubles point and No. 6 singles to grab an early 2-0 advantage, but the then 41st-ranked Irish used wins at first (Casey Watt), third (Daniel Stahl), fourth (David Anderson) and fifth (Samuel Keeton) singles to secure the 4-3 win over then 31st-ranked Wisconsin.

The Irish and Badgers have only met one time during postseason play in the schools’ 64-match history, and it came in 2007 NCAA Second Round action. The fifth-ranked Irish played host to the second round match against 38th-ranked Wisconsin and defeated the Badgers 4-0. Notre Dame got out to a quick start capturing the doubles point and then went on to win three straight singles points to close out the match and advance to the Round of 16.

700 And Counting…
With Notre Dame’s 4-2 win over Middle Tennessee State on March 18 in the opening round of the 2010 Blue Gray Tennis Classic, Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Bayliss reached the 700-career wins milestone. Bayliss is now one of just four active Division I men’s coaches with at least 700 career wins. In a career that has now reached 41 seasons, Bayliss has amassed a to-date record of 707-309-1, including a 416-206 mark in his 23 seasons leading the Notre Dame program. Bayliss ranks eighth on the all-time men’s tennis collegiate coaching wins list, and is fourth among active coaches.

Running The Gauntlet
Notre Dame, which played 17 contests against nationally ranked foes during the season thus far, enters the 2010 NCAA Tournament having faced 14 of the 64 teams in the NCAA Championship field, including having twice played Louisville.

Of the 14 teams that the Irish have squared off against, seven of those teams enter as a seeded squad, including the No. 1 overall seeded Virginia Cavaliers, who the defeated the Irish, 7-4. Ohio State (4), Texas A&M (10), Illinois (13), Texas Tech (14), Louisville (15) and Duke (16) round out the seeded teams which have faced the Irish. The remaining teams that have played Notre Dame during the 2010 dual season are Navy, Michigan, Wisconsin, Fresno State, Florida State, Tulsa and Washington.

Four schools (Virginia, Louisville, Ohio State, Navy) enter the tournament as automatic qualifiers after capturing their conferences postseason tournament.

In total, the 14 teams that the Irish met up with prior to NCAA play totaled an overall mark of 283-100 (.739). Five of those teams (Virginia, Ohio State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Louisville) posted 20+ win seasons while Virginia (35-1) and Ohio State (32-1) eclipsed the 30-win plateau

Overall, the Irish posted a 4-11 mark against the 14 opponents that made the tournament field, highlighted by 4-3 wins over Fresno State, Wisconsin and Florida State, who all find themselves seeded in the 17-32 slots of the 64-team field.

Watt Earns NCAA Singles Bid
Casey Watt earned an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Championship, May 26-31, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Watt was one of 48 players to earn an at-large bid.

Watt, currently 53rd in the ITA/Campbell singles rankings, has amassed a 20-18 overall record in the 2009-10 season and a 9-16 mark when lining up at No. 1 singles in dual season play. Six of his nine wins came against ranked opponents.

Watt’s at-large selection for the 2010 draw gives Notre Dame 16 all-time competitors in the event who have combined for 25 total appearances. Last season, Brett Helgeson `09 competed in the singles draw for the second consecutive season and made it to the round of 16. Current associate head coach Ryan Sachire (1998) and Irish great David DiLucia (1991) turned in runner-up showings for Notre Dame’s best finishes at the annual event.

Keys To Victory
When digging a little deeper into at Notre Dame’s 15 wins this season, several trends emerge. Most obviously, the Irish are tough to beat when they earn the doubles point, having posted 12 wins against just one loss when doing so. Their only loss when winning the doubles point came on Jan. 23 against then 35th-ranked Tulsa, 4-3. Also of note for the upcoming Wisconsin match – which is slated to take place at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex, the Irish are 7-4 when playing outdoors versus 8-8 when playing indoors.

Below is a detailed breakdown of Notre Dame’s 2010 record when…
Playing at home 8-4
Playing on the road 4-6
Playing at a neutral site 3-2
Playing nationally ranked opponent 6-11
Playing indoors 8-8
Playing outdoors 7-4
Winning the doubles point 12-1

By Position:
Winning @ #1 singles 8-2
Winning @ #2 singles 8-1
Winning @ #3 singles 13-2
Winning @ #4 singles 10-3
Winning @ #5 singles 11-4
Winning @ #6 singles 11-5

David Anderson records a singles win 9-3
Stephen Havens records a singles win 8-1
Sam Keeton records a singles win 11-5
Blas Moros records a singles win 10-4
Daniel Stahl records a singles win 10-3
Casey Watt records a singles win 7-2

All-BIG EAST Selections
Casey Watt, Stephen Havens and Daniel Stahl were named to the 2010 All-BIG EAST team it was announced by the conference on April 29. Watt has now earned All-BIG EAST honors in his first two seasons with the Irish. Havens, has been named an All-BIG EAST selection for the first time in his career, while Stahl, a junior, earns his second career honor. Stahl was previously named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team as a freshman before the conference switched its current format of selecting a team based on complete season results.

All told, the 2010 Men’s Tennis All-BIG EAST team includes 13 student athletes. Seven of the 13 players were unanimous selections by the conference’s head coaches, including Stahl.

Watt, Havens and Stahl have played the majority of the season at first, second and third singles, respectively, for the Irish. Watt has amassed a 20-18 overall record in the 2009-10 season and a 9-16 mark when lining up at No. 1 singles in dual season play. Six of his nine wins came against ranked opponents. Havens has posted 14 wins overall, including nine during the dual season. Eight of his nine wins came at the No. 2 position, while he also added a win at No. 1 singles. Stahl has been a staple at the No. 3 position, posting a 12-7 mark at that spot during the dual season. Overall, Stahl carries a 20-14 singles record on the year and a 13-9 dual season singles record.

Havens and Watt have also played the majority of the 2010 dual campaign at No. 1 doubles and have posted a 9-6 mark. Stahl has settled into the third doubles position with teammate David Anderson. The duo has made 18 starts together during the dual season and notched eight wins.

Last Time Out — BIG EAST Runners-Up
Back in the BIG EAST title game after missing out on a chance to play for the championship a season ago, the Fighting Irish men’s tennis team fell to 15th-ranked Louisville 4-0 on April 25 inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. With the win, Louisville picked up its second BIG EAST crown, while the Irish moved to 7-5 all-time in BIG EAST title matches.

Louisville jumped out to a 1-0 lead by virtue of winning a tightly contested doubles point. The Cardinals got on the board at No. 2 doubles where Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk downed Notre Dame’s tandem of Tyler Davis and Niall Fitzgerald 8-5. After falling behind early, Davis and Fitzgerald tied their match at 4-4 but could not pull ahead as Childs and Maksimcuk took four of the next five games for the win.

Louisville clinched the doubles point at the No. 3 position where Robert Hall and Chidi Gabriel defeated David Anderson and Daniel Stahl 8-4. Once the Cardinal duo established a 4-3 lead, they pushed ahead and for the win.

Louisville continued to put the pressure on in singles play. At No. 5 singles, the Cardinals extended their lead to 2-0 when Andrew Carter downed Anderson in straight sets 6-3, 6-0. Moments later Louisville moved within one point of claiming the BIG EAST title as 18th-ranked A. Childs downed 47th-ranked Watt 6-0, 6-2.

Facing a 0-3 deficit, the Irish showed some fight as Samuel Keeton, Stephen Havens, Stahl and Blas Moros extended their matches. Ultimately, Louisville claimed the 2010 BIG EAST title when Hall beat Moros at No. 6 singles 6-3, 6-3. After helping the Cardinals clinch the doubles point and the championship, Hall was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer.

Stockpiling Talent
The Notre Dame men’s tennis class of 2014 was ranked fifth-best in the country according to a poll, which was released on Jan. 25.

The most recent ranking marks Notre Dame’s third consecutive top-six signing class according to the website, which is considered the nation’s most comprehensive source for information about tennis recruiting. Impressively, Notre Dame is the only program that can currently boast a top-six recruiting ranking for three consecutive years (2008, 2009 & 2010).

The Irish class of 2014 includes Greg Andrews of Richland, Mich., Ryan Bandy of Cincinnati, Ohio, Matt Dooley of New Braunfels, Texas and Billy Pecor of Scottsdale, Ariz. The quartet each signed National Letters of Intent in the fall of 2009 to attend the University of Notre Dame and continue their tennis careers under the guidance of head coach Bobby Bayliss and associate head coach Ryan Sachire.

The poll conducted by included votes by national tournament directors, members of the media, and other junior tennis experts. Each voter submitted his/her take on the Top-25 recruiting classes with schools receiving 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 points for each second-place vote, on down to 1 point for each 25th-place vote. All told, the Irish finished with 379 points.

The current Irish sophomore class of Niall Fitzgerald, Casey Watt and Sam Keeton was also ranked fifth. This season’s freshman class of Michael Moore, Blas Moros and Spencer Talmadge was ranked sixth.

The Notre Dame-Illinois Series
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Illinois, 22-20, and the Irish hold a 13-12 edge under Bobby Bayliss. Illinois has won seven of the last 10 matchups between the two squads dating back to 2001, however the Irish earned the win last season over then ninth-ranked Illinois, 4-3.

Most recently, Notre Dame was handed a 5-2 defeat by Illinois back on March 2. The then 12th-ranked Illini used victories at No. 1, 3, 4 and 6 singles along with capturing the doubles point for the win. Stephen Havens and Samuel Keeton captured the two Irish points with wins at second and fifth singles respectively.

The Irish and Illini have squared off only once in the NCAA tournament, with that match coming in the 2002 NCAA Round of 16. Notre Dame, which entered the match ranked 14th, was defeated by third ranked Illinois, 4-1, in the contest. Javier Taborga clinched the lone Irish point on the day at No. 1 singles, while the Illini secured their points at No. 2, 5 and 6 singles along with grabbing the doubles point.

The Notre Dame-Xavier Series
Notre Dame and Xavier have met only twice, with the Irish securing the win on both occasions. The Irish have never faced the Musketeers under the direction of head coach Bobby Bayliss.

The teams first squared off in 1955 when Charles Samson was coaching the Irish. Notre Dame was able to secure a 9-0 decision in that meeting. The teams met a second time in an inter-squad contest on April 16, 1978 as the Musketeers joined up with Marquette to take on Notre Dame. The Irish won that contest, 9-0, as well.