March 16, 2000

Notre Dame Men’s Tennis

Irish Make Annual Trip To Blue-Gray National Classic

* Notre Dame opens Blue-Gray against 26th-ranked Virginia * Sachire continue singles streaks, Taborga and Talarico beat ninth-ranked team

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 36th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team travels to Montgomery, Ala., for the Blue-Gray National Classic where the Irish open against 26th-ranked Virginia. Notre Dame is coming off a 5-2 loss at 11th-ranked Illinois on Thurs., March 9.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: The Irish head to Lagoon Park in Montgomery, Ala., this week for the 16-team Blue-Gray National Classic, which runs Thurs.-Sun., March 16-19. In addition to Notre Dame, fifth-ranked Illinois, sixth-ranked SMU and 26th-ranked Virginia are among the other participating teams. Notre Dame has advanced to the championship match three times, including twice in the last three years. In 1998, the 21st-ranked Irish beat Tulane, New Mexico and Harvard before falling 4-3 to Boise State in the final. In 1997, the 20th-ranked Irish beat UAB, VCU and Illinois before losing 4-2 to South Alabama in the championship match. Notre Dame finished 1-2 in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999 after winning the title in 1993, beating New Mexico, Mississippi State, Florida and Alabama in the process. The first opponent for the Irish will be the Virginia Cavaliers, a team Notre Dame has never played in men’s tennis. Junior Brian Vahaly is ranked fifth in singles for Virginia and 14th in doubles with junior Huntley Montgomery, who is 39th in singles. Junior Tommy Croker and senior John Winter are 46th in doubles.

LAST WEEK: The Irish won a pair of singles matches and at No. 1 doubles in a 5-2 road loss to 11th-ranked Illinois on Thursday. The Illini took the doubles point and then won the first two singles matches to stand a point away from ending the match. The Irish tried to rally, sending the remaining four matches to a third set by winning three of those second sets in tiebreakers, but Illinois’ Jeff Laski, the 52nd-ranked player in the country, clinched the match for Illinois with a win at No. 2 singles. After Illinois posted an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles, the 31st-ranked Irish team of sophomores Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico beat the ninth-ranked team of Laski and Jamal Parker 8-3 at No. 1 doubles. Illinois claimed the point with a 9-7 win at No. 3 doubles. Taborga rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over Parker at No. 5 singles, while senior All-American Ryan Sachire beat 25th-ranked Cary Franklin 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) at No. 1 singles for Notre Dame’s two points.

SACHIRE CONTINUES STREAK: Senior All-American Ryan Sachire enters the Blue-Gray Classic on a seven-match winning streak after rallying to beat Illinois’ Cary Franklin 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) after trailing 3-5 in the third set. The 10th-ranked Sachire’s last defeat came at the hands of eventual champion Daniel Andersson of VCU in the quarterfinals of the Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Irish captain’s record stands at 23-6, and he has won 33 of his last 38 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles. His career record stands at 131-39, while his record in dual singles matches is 70-15. He has a 6-0 record in three-set matches this year and a 19-0 mark when winning the first set.

LAFLIN CLINCHES WINS: Sophomore Andrew Laflin has won the clinching singles matches in four of Notre Dame’s seven wins during the spring season, including both decisive matches last weekend against Purdue and Northwestern. He also won decisive matches in the 4-3 win over Ohio State and against Michigan State. Laflin posted wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin before recording Notre Dame’s only 6-0, 6-0 win this season against Miami’s Mark Arrowsmith. His record of 14-9 includes wins in the fall over USC’s Nicholas Rainey and Wisconsin’s Danny Westerman and Scott Rutherford.

TABORGA, TALARICO PERFECT VS. RANKED OPPONENTS: Sophomores Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico — currently ranked 37th — improved to 7-0 against ranked opponents this year after beating their highest ranked foe of the season against Illinois’ ninth-ranked Jeff Laski and Jamal Parker. The win marked the six consecutive for the duo, whose record now stands at 13-5. The pair has won seven of nine matches in 2000, with four of the wins coming over ranked teams, including an 8-5 win over the 14th-ranked team of Matt Amgwerd and Nic Dubey from New Mexico in January. Taborga and Talarico played just six matches together as freshmen and went 3-3. They beat Baylor’s David Hodge and Johan Jooste — ranked 11th at the time — in their first match together last season.

DALY RETURNS: After a three-week absence due to an injury, junior Matt Daly has posted a 2-2 record in his return to his spot in the lineup. He lost his first match back against Miami (Fla.) but rebounded to beat Purdue’s Derek Miller and Northwestern’s Joost Hol in his next two matches. After losing to Illinois’ Graydon Oliver, Daly’s record stands at 8-6, after a 5-2 fall season in which he posted a win over USC’s 34th-ranked Patrick Gottesleben.

FARRELL FILLS IN: Freshman Brian Farrell, after a 5-1 record in the fall, has subbed in and out of the dual-match singles lineup in 2000 and compiled a 4-1 record at No. 6 singles. In his second appearance with the Irish leading 18th-ranked Kentucky 3-0 but with the three other singles matches to be decided in third sets, Farrell abruptly ended any suspense about the outcome of the match with a 6-2, 7-6 win over Reven Stephens at No. 6 singles. After losing a match point on Stephens’ serve at 5-6, Farrell calmly rolled to a 7-2 win in the tiebreaker. His record in tiebreaker stands at a team-leading 6-0 in the 11 matches he has played.

ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 36th among the 75 teams ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after finishing 1999 ranked 31st. Senior All-American Ryan Sachire is ranked 10th in singles. Sophomores Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico are ranked 37th in doubles.

MALHAME JOINS CLASSMATES: James Malhame has joined his fellow classmates in taking his place in Notre Dame’s sophomore-dominated lineup. He has played at No. 3 doubles in nine of 11 dual matches in 2000 with both Casey Smith and Ashok Raju. Malhame and Smith have a 4-4 record in 2000, highlighted by an 8-5 win over Edo Bawono and Johan Grunditz to clinch the doubles point against Kentucky. Malhame and Raju have played once in 2000, losing a tiebreaker against Purdue.

SACHIRE VS. TOP 10: Senior Ryan Sachire will square off against Virginia’s fifth-ranked Brian Vahaly on Thursday, the fourth top-10 player Sachire has played this season. He beat Arkansas’ eighth-ranked Oskar Johansson in the first round of the Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and then lost to second-ranked Daniel Andersson in the quarterfinals. In his next match against Kentucky at No. 1 singles, Sachire beat ninth-ranked Carlos Drada. His overall record against ranked opponents this year stands at 10-6.

2000 IRISH SLATE: After matches against nine ranked teams thus far in the season, the Irish are scheduled to meet at least six more ranked teams, including matches at second-ranked Duke and 10th-ranked Texas. Notre Dame also makes its annual trip to Montgomery, Ala., this week for the prestigious Blue-Gray Classic. Notre Dame will defend its 1999 BIG EAST championship April 20-23, at Miami.

HEAD COACH BOB BAYLISS: Irish head coach Bob Bayliss is in his 13th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 238-107 (.690) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 521-201 (.722), the fifth-best winning percentage among active men’s coaches. Bayliss became the 11th active men’s tennis coach to record 500 career wins on Feb. 20, 1999. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in each of the last nine years, including an NCAA second-place finish in 1992. The Richmond, Va., native, and 1966 graduate of Richmond has been named ITA national coach of the year in 1992 and ITA regional coach of the year three times. The six-time conference coach of year has coached his players to 13 All-America honors in his 12 years at Notre Dame, with senior Ryan Sachire his latest All-American.

IRISH INK HADDOCK: Luis Haddock, ranked 20th by the United States Tennis Association among 18-and-under boys, has signed a national letter of intent to attend Notre Dame in the fall of 2000. The Caguas, Puerto Rico, native also was ranked third in the country last year in doubles. Haddock looks to become the second men’s tennis monogram winner to come to Notre Dame from Puerto Rico. Pedro Rossell?, the current governor of Puerto Rico, played for the Irish from 1963-66, captaining the ’66 team that finished 15-0. Haddock is a senior at Colegio Cat?lico Notre Dame, where he is ranked first in his class with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average.