March 17, 2001
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The 22nd-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team won the doubles point and then won straight-set singles matches at the bottom of the lineup to beat 18th-ranked Auburn 4-1 to reach the championship match the Blue-Gray National Classic for the third time. Junior Aaron Talarico won the clinching match for the second consecutive day at No. 4 singles, as the Irish improved to 12-2 and will face 26th-ranked Fresno State on Sunday. The Irish also reached the final in 1993 and 1998, beating Alabama in the ’93 final and losing to Boise State in ’98.
Senior Matt Daly and sophomore Brian Farrell won the first doubles match for Notre Dame, as they defeated Anore Boz and Estevan Strecker 8-4 at No. 3 doubles. Freshman Luis Haddock-Morales and junior Casey Smith then rallied from 2-6 to beat Rameez Juniad and Mark Kovacs 9-7 at No. 2 doubles and a 1-0 Irish lead. The 26th-ranked team of juniors Javier Taborga and Talarico held match point against the seventh-ranked team of Georges Matijasevic and Tiago Ruffoni at 8-7 at No. 1 doubles when the match was abandoned after Notre Dame had won the point.
Farrell also finished first in singles when he put the Irish ahead 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Strecker at No. 5 singles. Daly made it 3-0 when he beat Boz 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 singles. Juniad pulled the Tigers within 3-1 when he beat Haddock-Morales 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3 singles. Talarico then closed out the match with his 6-3, 6-4 win over Mark Kovacs at No. 4 singles.
Smith and Taborga had their singles matches abandoned following Talarico’s win. Smith led Georges Matijasevic 6-4, 5-1 at No. 1 singles, while 93rd-ranked Taborga and 23rd-ranked Ruffoni were about to start to the third set. The 18th-ranked Tigers marked the highest-ranked opponent the Irish have beaten since a 4-3 win over 13th-ranked Duke in 1998.
#22 NOTRE DAME 4, #18 AUBURN 1
No. 1: Casey Smith (ND) vs. Georges Matijasevic (A) 6-4, 5-1, abandoned
No. 2: #93 Javier Taborga (ND) vs. #23 Tiago Ruffoni (A) 6-1, 6-7, abandoned
No. 3: Rameez Juniad (A) def. Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) 6-2, 6-0
No. 4: Aaron Talarico (ND) def. Mark Kovacs (A) 6-3, 6-4
No. 5: Brian Farrell (ND) def. Estevan Strecker (A) 6-4, 6-1
No. 6: Matt Daly (ND) def. Anore Boz (A) 6-2, 6-2
No. 1: #26 Taborga/Talarico (ND) vs. #7 Matijasevic/Ruffoni (A) 8-7, abandoned
No. 2: Haddock-Morales/Smith (ND) def. Juniad/Kovacs (A) 9-7
No. 3: Daly/Farrell (ND) def. Boz/Strecker (A) 8-4