Feb. 13, 2004
The 50th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (4-2) will return to action in the Eck Tennis Pavilion this weekend after a week layoff. The Irish play host to Wisconsin (2-1) Sunday at noon (EST). The match against the Badgers had its starting day and time changed from the originally published schedule. Notre Dame has prevailed in each of the last 12 matches against Wisconsin.
LAST TIME ON THE COURTS: Playing without a pair of key starters, the Irish showcased their depth in registering a 5-2 victory over #53 Purdue (3-1) last Sunday in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame reversed its fortunes in doubles, taking the initial point of the match for just the second time this season. The point came down to the No. 3 match, where sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and senior Paul Hidaka (Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary’s International School) came through for a 9-7 triumph against Colin Foster and David Robinson. The bottom half of the Irish singles lineup is shaping up to be one of Notre Dame’s strengths this season, as the Irish improved to 14-4 at Nos. 4, 5, and 6 with a trio of wins. Freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) clinched the victory for Notre Dame with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 4 over Colin Foster.
IRISH vs. BADGERS: Wisconsin is on the road for the first time this spring, taking on Western Michigan Saturday in Kalamazoo before coming to Notre Dame on Sunday. The Badgers are 2-1 on the young season, posting 5-2 wins over Northern Illinois, currently ranked 75th, and DePaul before dropping a 4-3 decision to #62 Ball State on February 8. Leading the way for Wisconsin are senior co-captain David Hippee and junior Alexander Kasarov, the eighth-ranked doubles team in the nation. The pair defeated the Irish team of Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) and Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) 8-4 in the round of 32 of last fall’s Midwest Championships. The Badgers return five starters from last season’s team that was 6-17 (2-8 Big Ten) and reached the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. Head coach Pat Klingelhoets is in his 22nd season at Wisconsin, having compiled a 271-242 (.528) record.
Sunday will mark the 57th meeting between Notre Dame and Wsconsin, with the Irish holding a 41-15 advantage. Notre Dame has won the last 12 matches, dating back to a 6-3 Badger win in 1991 in Madison. In the current streak, the Irish have registered five shutouts and Wisconsin has not scored more than two points in a match. Notre Dame’s 41 wins against Wisconsin are tied for the second-most (along with 41 wins vs. Western Michigan) against any team, behind only 48 victories vs. Purdue. This match will tie the Badgers with the Boilermakers as the fourth-most-common Irish opponent in their 82-year history of varsity tennis, coming in behind Western Michigan (61 matches vs. ND), Northwestern (72), and Michigan State (72).
The most recent meeting between the two squads was a 7-0 victory at Wisconsin in 2003. It was the first win of the season for the Irish after their first-ever 0-4 start. Notre Dame won at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles and posted straight-set victories at Nos. 2, 4, 5, and 6 singles. Buchanan had the clinching win at the No. 5 postion with a 6-4, 6-3 decison over Jordan Raemisch.
ITA RANKINGS: Afte opening the season 4-2, Notre Dame dropped one spot to 50th among the 75 teams ranked in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, released Feb. 10. The next set of rankings will be released Feb. 24 before they become weekly on March 2.
Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) lead the Irish in the individual rankings, at 18th in doubles. Keckley is just the second freshman in Irish history earn a national doubles ranking, joining five-time All-American David DiLucia (’92), who finished his first season ranked 31st after peaking at 12th. Senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) jumped into the singles rankings at 68th. Junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) was one of 14 players who were listed in the preseason singles rankings, but did not play in the fall and thus had “insufficient data” to garner a ranking in this listing.
In the Midwest Region singles rankings released at the end of the fall season, Haddock was 10th, Scott 12th, and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) 23rd. In doubles, Haddock and Keckley were second, while Scott and D’Amico were 12th.
LANGENKAMP LACKING LOSSES: Sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) has been nearly perfect this season in singles action. He stands 14-2, including 5-0 in dual-match play at Nos. 5 and 6. Langenkamp’s only losses were against Joseph Jung, the No. 3 player for #17 Alabama, and Avery Ticer, #31 Minnesota’s No. 2 player. The former came in the Tom Fallon Invitational, while the latter was in the first round of the ITA Midwest Championships, in which Ticer reached the quarterfinals. Langenkamp is 7-1 against region opponents and is 13-0 when winning the first set. He is 7-1 at home and 7-1 on the road. A year ago, he was 9-12, including 0-6 in dual matches.
HADDOCK IN THE DAVIS CUP: Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) missed last Sunday’s Purdue match to represent his native Puerto Rico in a Davis Cup tie against the Bahamas. He played in one match, falling 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to Mark Merklein in singles. Merklein, ranked 42nd in the world in doubles, won the 1994 NCAA Singles Championship contested at Notre Dame as a Florida Gator. Due to his undefeated record, the Bahamas prevailed 3-2 in a first-round match in Group II of the Americas Zone. Puerto Rico will next play host to Jamaica April 9-11 in a match that will send its loser to Group III of the Americas Zone in 2005. Haddock is expected to participate in that tie, which will end the day before Notre Dame ends its regular season at Florida State. He has played in the Davis Cup for Puerto Rico six times (every year since 1998 except 2001), which is tied with Gabriel Montilla for the most-ever appearances on the Puerto Rican team. Haddock holds a 12-12 career record in Davis Cup play.
Former Irish player Javier Taborga (’02) helped his native Bolivia to a fourth-place finish in Americas Zone Group III action last week in Honduras, meaning his country will again be in Group III in 2005. He was 2-3 in singles and 2-2 in doubles. Taborga is the most prolific Davis Cup player in the history of his country. He holds Bolivian Davis Cup records for most combined singles and doubles victories (21-15 record), most doubles victories (10-8), and most ties played (23). He is tied for most singles victories (11-7), while he and Alberto Sottocorno combine to be the top doubles team ever, having compiled a 5-0 record. Taborga notched a doubles victory over Haddock in a ’98 tie won by Bolivia.
KECKLEY’S RARE FRESHMAN DOUBLES RANKING: Local product Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) became just the second Irish freshman in school history to earn a national doubles ranking when he and senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) were 18th in the preseason ITA listing. Five-time All-American David DiLucia (’92) was ranked as high as 12th during his first collegiate campaign, 1988-89, before finishing 31st, along with Mike Wallace.
BAYLISS NEARING MILESTONE: Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss enters this weekend just two wins away from his 300th leading the Irish program. In his 17th season as Notre Dame’s head coach, Bayliss holds a 298-142 (.677) record. He will become the second coach in school history to register 300 victories. Bayliss’ predecessor, Tom Fallon, had a 514-194 (.726) record in 31 years coaching the Irish.
HOME IS WHERE THE MATCHES ARE: The Eck Tennis Pavilion will be busy during the early portion of the season, as all 10 of Notre Dame’s home matches were scheduled to come before spring break. With the postponement of the Kentucky match, the Irish could get a home match in April, as well. Notre Dame will be on the road just four times prior to their final currently-scheduled home match on March 2 vs. Michigan State. Notre Dame will spend the remainder of the season — nearly three months — on the road except for the Kentucky match.
BIG ELEVEN (OR TWELVE)?: Though Notre Dame participates in the BIG EAST Conference in men’s tennis, a glance at the Irish schedule may not bear out that fact. Notre Dame will face only a trio of BIG EAST foes (St. John’s, Virginia Tech, and Miami) during the regular season, but will take on a total of eight teams from the Big Ten Conference. Only Penn State, Iowa, and Minnesota from the Big Ten will not play the Irish this season. A year ago, Notre Dame played nine matches against Big Ten teams, posting a 4-5 mark. In ’04, the Irish, in the midst of a seven-match stretch featuring six Big Ten teams, are as yet unbeaten against the conference, having topped Indiana (6-1) and Purdue (5-2).
Notre Dame has had a long history of playing the teams that now make up the Big Ten, posting an all-time 305-223-2 (.578) mark in averaging nearly seven matches per season against Big Ten teams in the 82-year history of the program. The Irish have played each of the original 10 members of the conference at least 25 times, holding a winning mark against every team but Michigan (22-41).
SLOW STRETCH: After Notre Dame played three matches in as many days from Jan. 23-25, the Irish are now in the midst of a relatively slow stretch. From Jan. 26-Feb. 25, Notre Dame will play just four matches and never more than one in a weekend. The Irish will be busy again after this lull, playing four matches in six days from Feb. 26-March 2.
KENTUCKY MATCH POSTPONED: The Notre Dame-Kentucky match, originally scheduled for Jan. 27, was postponed due to unforeseen travel complications encountered by the Wildcats. The contest will be rescheduled for some time in April, with the date as yet to be determined.
IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The road to the 2004 NCAA Championship will be challenging for Notre Dame. Of the 19 dual-match opponents the Irish will face this season, 15 of them were among the top 65 in the preseason ITA rankings and nine earned berths to last year’s NCAA tournament. Highlighting Notre Dame’s schedule are four matches with preseason top 10 foes — vs. #9 Texas A&M (L, 2-5), vs. #10 Kentucky (postponed for April), at #8 Duke (L, 0-7), and at defending NCAA champion #1 Illinois (Feb. 26). In addition to the 19 scheduled matches, the Irish will compete in the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic, in which Notre Dame has faced at least one top-25 team in 12 of the last 13 years.
BRING ON THE BEST: Notre Dame will get a shot at the preseason national No. 1s in both singles and doubles this spring. Ohio State’s Jeremy Wurtzman (OSU at ND, Feb. 28) is the top-ranked singles player, while Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic of Texas A&M (A&M at ND, Jan. 23) sit atop the doubles listing. The Irish also will see the nation’s No. 2 doubles team, Jason Zimmerman and Ludovic Walter of Duke (ND at Duke, Feb. 1), highlighting a total of five top-20 singles players (also #7 Walter, #16 Jesse Witten of Kentucky, and #17 Cook and #19 Matijevic) and five top-20 doubles pairs (also #8 David Hippee/Alexander Kasarov of Wisconsin, #14 Michael Calkins/Chris Martin of Illinois, and #15 Jeff Groslimond/Chris Westerhof of Florida State) on the dual-match schedule. In all, nine doubles teams and 16 singles players in the rankings are on the 2004 Irish schedule, as are four players who were ranked in the preseason singles rankings, but did not play in the fall and had “insufficient data” for listing in the most recent set.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 17th year at Notre Dame with a 298-142 (.677) record and his 35th year as a collegiate head coach with a 560-236 (.711) mark. 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 and has been honored as his conference’s top coach on 10 occasions, including three times in eight years in the BIG EAST. In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 10 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.
CHANGE — NOTHING STAYS THE SAME: A pair of home matches have been rescheduled for different dates and four remaining road contests have had their start times adjusted from what was initially published. The Irish contest with Wisconsin has been moved forward one day and now will be played on Sunday, Feb. 15 at Noon (EST), while Notre Dame will welcome SMU not in April, as originally scheduled, but on Sunday, Feb. 22 at Noon (EST). One home match and three road tilts have had their start times changed. Both the Saturday, Feb. 21 contest at Northwestern and the Thursday, Feb. 26 match at defending national champion Illinois will now start at 4 p.m. (CST). The initial contest was scheduled for three hours earlier and the latter was supposed to be an hour later. Matches against Notre Dame’s top two BIG EAST rivals both had their start times moved up an hour to Noon. Those contests are the Sunday, Feb. 29 match at home vs. Miami and the Sunday, April 4 tilt at Virginia Tech. The date changes mean that the entire 10-match home schedule for Notre Dame will take place in the Eck Tennis Pavilion and within the first 14 contests of the spring, concluding on Tuesday, March 2 vs. Michigan State.
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.email@example.com, or Eileen Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.