April 24, 1999

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The 31st-ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame men’s tennis team advanced to the final of the BIG EAST championship with a 4-0 win over fifth-seeded Rutgers on Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex at the University of Miami. The Irish, now 16-7 on the year, won the doubles point and three singles matches to advance to Sunday’s championship matchup against second-seeded Miami at 9:00 a.m., marking the fourth consecutive year the Irish and the Hurricanes have met for the title.

Sophomore Matt Daly and freshman Casey Smith won the first doubles match for the Irish with an 8-0 decision over Chris Kushner and Joe Muscatiello at No. 3 doubles. Junior Ryan Sachire and freshman Aaron Talarico clinched the point with an 8-5 win over David Birnbaum and Arjun Viswanathan at No. 1 doubles. Junior Trent Miller and freshman Javier Taborga led 7-4 after wasting set points at 7-3 when their No. 2 doubles match was abandoned.

Smith was off the court first once again when he beat Birnbaum 6-2, 6-1 at No. 4 singles. Taborga put the Irish ahead 3-0 with his 6-4, 6-1 win over Kushner at No. 6 singles. Third-ranked Sachire improved to 36-7 and 22-3 in dual matches this year as he clinched the win with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Viswanathan at No. 1 singles.

Notre Dame was on the verge of winning in two of the three abandoned singles matches. Daly was ahead of Akshay Jagdale 6-3, 5-1 at No. 2 singles, while freshman Andrew Laflin was in front of Martijn Otlhof 6-4, 5-1 at No. 3 singles when Sachire clinched the win. Senior Andy Warford won the first set 6-3, dropped the second set 6-3 and was tied at 1-1 in the third set of his No. 5 singles match.

No. 1: #3 Ryan Sachire (ND) def. Arjun Viswanathan (RU) 6-3, 6-3
No. 2: Matt Daly (ND) vs. Akshay Jagdale (RU) 6-3, 5-1, abandoned
No. 3: Andrew Laflin (ND) vs. Martijn Otlhof (RU) 6-4, 5-1, abandoned
No. 4: Casey Smith (ND) def. David Birnbaum (RU) 6-2, 6-1,
No. 5: Andy Warford (ND) vs. Florian Mihai (RU) 6-3, 3-6, 1-1, abandoned
No. 6: Javier Taborga (ND) def. Chris Kushner (RU) 6-4, 6-1

No. 1: Sachire/Aaron Talarico (ND) def. Birnbaum/Viswanathan (RU) 8-5
No. 2: Trent Miller/Taborga (ND) vs. Jagdale/Otlhof (RU) 7-4, abandoned
No. 3: Daly/Smith (ND) def. Kushner/Joe Muscatiello (RU) 8-0