Feb. 25, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team returns home after a five-match road swing to play host to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Toledo this weekend. The action starts on Saturday, Feb. 27 when the Irish play the Spartans at 3:00 p.m. Then, on Sunday, Feb. 28 Notre Dame will face Wisconsin at 2:00 p.m. and close out the weekend with a 6:00 p.m. match versus Toledo.
All three matches will take place inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. This weekend’s matches will feature live scoring on und.com, where a complete recap will be posted following each day of action as well.
Michigan State Series Breakdown
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 46-32, and has won the last 20 meetings between the two teams dating back to 1989. Under head coach Bobby Bayliss, Notre Dame holds a 19-1 record versus the Spartans. The Irish last dropped a home match to the Spartans in 1985 (5-4).
Last season, the teams met on Feb. 14 in East Lansing, Mich. The Irish recorded a 6-1 win on that day by taking the doubles point and earning singles victories from Brett Helgeson (’09), current juniors Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), as well as current sophomores Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College). The win snapped an eight-match streak for the Spartans.
Scouting The Spartans
Michigan State enters Saturday’s match with a 7-3 overall record including a 5-1 record in their last six matches. The only common opponent MSU and ND share is William & Mary. The Irish downed the Tribe, 4-3, in their season opener while the Tribe handed MSU one of its three losses when they won 6-1 in a match that was played at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Jan. 21.
Freshman Denis Bogatov leads the team with eight singles wins this season, all of which have come at the No. 3 position. At No. 1 singles, sophomore Ronnie Hulewicz has chipped in with a 5-4 mark for the Spartans. Gene Orlando is in his 19th season at the helm of the Michigan State tennis program. All four of MSU’s NCAA Championship singles qualifiers have played under Orlando.
Wisconsin Series Breakdown
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 47-16, and the Irish hold a 17-5 edge under Bayliss. Notre Dame has won 17 of the last 19 meetings between the two teams, dating back to the 1992 season, but Wisconsin took both meetings between the two teams last season.
Most recently, Wisconsin earned a win over the Irish on March 21 at the 2009 Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery, Ala. The Badgers, who were ranked 29th at the time, edged the 26th-ranked Irish, 4-3. In that match, Havens, Stahl and Watt earned singles wins for Notre Dame.
Scouting The Badgers
The Badgers carry a 7-3 record into Sunday’s showdown with the Irish and are 31st in the most recent Campbell/ITA rankings. Wisconsin will be looking to snap a two-match losing streak; having suffered defeats against Texas Tech (5-2) and Texas A&M (5-2) in College Station, Texas last weekend. Wisconsin and Notre Dame have not faced any common opponents.
The Badgers boast a deep lineup that features three ranked players including two in the top-25. Senior Moritz Baumann is seventh, junior Marek Michalicka holds the No. 22 spot and sophomore Patrick Pohlmann is ranked 73rd. Two Badgers carry undefeated records in singles play. Michalicka is 7-0 for the season and senior Michael Dierberger has a 4-0 mark.
Toledo Series Breakdown
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Toledo, 24-2. The Irish won the first meeting in 1958, 9-0, and have posted a 6-0 record under Bayliss. Last season, the Irish shutout the Rockets, 7-0, on Feb. 8 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion to stretch their winning streak versus Toledo to 14 straight games, which dates back to the 1970 season. In last season’s win, the Irish got singles wins from five current team members including Havens, Watt, Fitzgerald, David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan).
Scouting The Rockets
The Rockets enter the weekend with a 6-6 record. Before facing the Irish on Sunday, the Rockets will play host to a Saturday doubleheader involving Butler and Wayne State. The only common opponent Toledo and Notre Dame will have shared entering their match is Michigan State, who defeated the Rockets 6-1 on Feb. 20.
Junior Aleksandar Elezovic leads the team in wins with seven, having earned victories at No. 2, 3 and 4 singles. Junior Knot Likitkumchorn has earned the majority of the starts at No. 1 singles, posting a 5-4 record.
The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team was edged at No. 25 Washington 4-3 on Saturday, Feb. 20 in Seattle, Wash. Stahl got the Irish on the board with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Derek Drabble at No. 3 singles. Anderson earned a win at fourth singles to move his record to 4-1 on the season. After dropping a close first set 7-6 (6) to UW’s Martin Kildahl, Anderson earned a 6-3 win in the second set to force a third set. In the third, Anderson cruised to a 6-0 win. The final Irish point came from sophomore Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) who won at sixth singles over Alex Rosinski in three sets 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
The Irish are returning home this weekend for three matches at the Eck Tennis Pavilion after a five match road stretch … entering the weekend, Notre Dame has faced a ranked opponent in seven of its eight matches (the Campbell/ITA rankings slot the top-75 teams) … four of Notre Dame’s eight matches have been decided by just one point … dating back to March 28 of last season, David Anderson is 10-1 in his last 13 dual season singles starts (two matches unfinished) … Sam Keeton is 2-0 at No. 6 singles and 3-0 in overall in the 2010 dual season (other start was at No. 9 singles vs. Virginia).