Aug. 15, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s tennis team sent four players to the 2008 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Summer Championships, which took place at Indiana University’s Varsity Tennis Center on August 11-15. The four participating student-athletes were sophomores Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.), Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio), Matthew Johnson (Portage, Mich.) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.). Havens made it all the way to the semifinals, while Davis and Stahl advanced to the quarterfinals, giving Notre Dame the distinction of being the only school with three athletes advancing past the fourth round of play. “I’m excited about the performance of some of our younger players this summer, especially at the ITA Summer Championships. It doesn’t surprise me to see these results because I know how much work they have put in this summer,” said men’s tennis head coach Bob Bayliss.
Monday, August 11 was the first day of play and it included rounds one and two of singles play. Davis and Havens advanced to second round play by virtue of having a bye, while Stahl advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 win versus Duncan McDonald-Korth of Oregon. Johnson joined his three teammates in the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Raees Ismail of Xavier University.
In second round play, Davis and Havens each advanced with 6-2, 6-2 straight set wins, as Davis overcome Jordan Smith of Memphis and Havens beat Stephen Volg of Indiana University. Stahl also won his second round match, defeating Princeton’s Parker Preyer (6-1, 6-2). But NC State’s Derek Stephens knocked Johnson out of singles play after he dropped the first set 6-2 before being forced to retire in the second set.
The third round of singles play saw Davis, Havens and Stahl all advance. Davis did so with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Brett Powers of St. Edwards. Havens advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win versus BIG EAST foe Mark Oljaca of South Florida and Stahl claimed a place in the fourth round with a win over Matt Hansen of Northern Illinois (6-2, 6-2).
The Irish continued their strong play in the fourth round, as Davis defeated Chris Peek of Indiana University (6-4, 6-4) and Havens beat Jon Tragardh of LSU (7-5, 6-3), setting up a showdown between the two doubles teammates. Stahl also reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Malcolm Harrison of Johnson CC.
Davis and Havens met in an all-Irish quarterfinal match, with Havens taking the first set, 6-2. Davis bounced back, taking the second set (3-6), but it was Havens who secured a berth in the semifinals with a 1-0 (2) tiebreak win in Wednesday afternoon’s most closely contested match. Stahl lost to Virginia’s Sanam Singh (6-4, 6-0) in the other quarterfinal match involving an Irish student-athlete. Then, on Thursday, Singh beat Havens in the semifinals (3-0 retired) to end Notre Dame’s run at the 2008 ITA Summer Championships.
All four athletes also participated in the doubles draw. Davis and Stahl teamed up as one doubles team, while Johnson and Havens comprised Notre Dame’s the other doubles team. Johnson and Havens had their first doubles match in the second round due to a bye. They were able to overcome Patrick Dwyer and Will Vasos of Iowa in a hard-fought match to earn a 9-8(3) victory. But the Irish tandem was unable to get out of the third round, falling to number-one seeded John Barrick and Signh of Virginia, 8-2. After advancing to the second round of doubles play with a bye, Davis and Stahl fell to Memphis duo Spencer Helfin and Jordan Smith in a close match, 8-6.
The collegiate summer circuit was first played in 1993 and it is made up of seven regions. Presented by the United States Tennis Association, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit is played at 26 regional sites across the country throughout July, with the finals taking place in August. The singles and doubles champions from the Championship event earn wild cards into the first national tournaments of the 2008-09 collegiate tennis season in October. Notre Dame boasts one previous champion on the men’s side of the ITA Summer Championships, as 2006 graduate Eric Langenkamp took home the singles title in 2005.