May 9, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 32nd-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team travels to UCLA for an NCAA first-round match against 42nd-ranked New Mexico State at 9:00 a.m. on Sat., May 13. The winner of that match will play the winner of a first-round match between second-ranked UCLA and UMKC at noon on Sun., May 14. The Irish will be in action for the first time since losing 5-2 to Miami in the BIG EAST championship match.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Notre Dame will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., to take on 42nd-ranked New Mexico State at 9:00 a.m. on Sat., May 13, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships. Host and second-ranked UCLA will play UMKC in the other first-round match at noon. First-round winners will play a second-round match on Sun., May 16, at noon with the winner advancing to the round of 16 at the University of Georgia. The Irish earned an at-large selection into the NCAA championships with a 12-10 record and are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the event. New Mexico State enters its match against Notre Dame with a 15-5 record after advancing to the final of the Big West Championship on April 30. The Aggies will be making their second NCAA appearance after losing their first match at Fresno State at the 1997 NCAA Region VII. The Irish and Aggies have never played before this NCAA first-round match. Junior Marc Legris is ranked 77th in singles for New Mexico State and 39th in doubles with junior Cesar Obieta. The Irish and Aggies have had two common opponents this season, both beating New Mexico and losing to Texas. The second-ranked Bruins enter the NCAA championships with a 21-3 record following a 5-2 win over top-ranked Stanford in their final match of the regular season. UCLA boasts four ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams, including the second-ranked team in the country in seniors Brandon Kramer and Jong-Ming Lee. The Irish have lost all previous meetings with the Bruins but the teams have not met since 1991. Notre Dame has never played Missouri-Kansas City, which enters the championship with a 12-10 record after winning the automatic bid of the Mid-Continent Conference.
IRISH AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Notre Dame has an 8-9 record in its previous nine appearances in the 1990s. The Irish dropped a first-round match to Harvard in 1999 and lost their first match in the last three regionals after reaching the 1995 regional final in the previous regional format. Notre Dame played host to the ’94 regional and national championships and won the regional before falling in the first round. The ’93 Irish beat Mississippi State 5-3 before falling 5-0 to USC in the quarterfinals. Notre Dame became the only northern school to reach the team championship match in 1992 when it beat Mississippi State 5-3, host Georgia 5-4 and top-ranked USC 5-1 before falling 5-0 to Stanford in the championship match. In their first appearance in the NCAA team format which was instituted in 1978, the Irish beat Kansas 5-2 before falling 5-0 to USC. Ryan Sachire is the only member of the Irish lineup to play in more than one NCAA dual match. Junior Matt Daly and sophomore Casey Smith won their only matches against Harvard in the 1999 NCAA first round, while sophomore Andrew Laflin dropped his match against the Crimson.
BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP REVIEW: The Irish won the doubles point but won only one of six singles matches in falling 5-2 to top-seeded and 21st-ranked host Miami in the final of the BIG EAST Championships. Notre Dame started the match by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead heading into singles. Junior Matt Daly and sophomore Casey Smith beat Mark Arrowsmith and Joel Berman 8-1 at No. 3 doubles. The 30th-ranked team of Irish sophomores Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico then clinched the point with an 8-4 win over 40th-ranked Peter Hoffman and Tomas Smid. Senior Ryan Sachire then made it 2-0 when he beat Smid 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Miami then won in straight sets at No. 4-6 singles to take a 3-2 lead. Notre Dame, which rallied from 2-3 down to Miami in winning the 1999 BIG EAST Championship, lost in three sets at both No. 2 and No. 3 singles after winning the first set in each for the 5-2 loss. The Irish had advanced to the championship match for the fifth consecutive year with shutout wins over Georgetown and St. John’s.
SACHIRE NOTCHES FOURTH 30-WIN SEASON: Senior captain and All-American Ryan Sachire — ranked ninth in the latest ITA singles rankings — won two singles matches at the BIG EAST championship to become the first Irish player under 13th-year head coach Bob Bayliss to win at least 30 singles matches all four years with a 30-9 mark. He had 37-9 records during both his freshman and junior seasons and was 34-14 as a sophomore. Sachire leads the team in dual matches with a 17-4 record at No. 1 singles and has won 40 of his last 47 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles. His career record stands at 138-42, while his record in dual singles matches is 77-18.
TABORGA, TALARICO MAKE EARLY NCAA APPEARANCE: Sophomores Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico have been selected to compete in the NCAA doubles championships as the second-ranked team in Region IV. The 29th-ranked pair qualify for the 32-team field as the second-youngest duo in the doubles tournament, with four combined years of collegiate tennis — including this season. Georgia’s 10th-ranked team of freshman Matias Boeker and sophomore Travis Parrot with three seasons are the least experienced. USC’s 11th-ranked sophomores Ryan Moore and Nicholas Rainey — 9-8 (12-10) winners over Taborga and Talarico in the fall — and Mississippi State’s 12th-ranked pair of junior Marco Baron and freshman Charles Sevigny also have four collegiate seasons between them. Taborga and Talarico enter the NCAA first-round match against New Mexico State with a 17-7 record that includes eight wins over ranked teams. The pair has a 12-5 mark at No. 1 doubles in 2000 and is 2-3 against the other 31 NCAA doubles qualifiers. 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.
SACHIRE EARNS FOURTH NCAA SINGLES SPOT: Senior Ryan Sachire will be making his fourth NCAA singles appearance and joins former Irish All-American David DiLucia as the only Notre Dame players under 13th-year head coach Bob Bayliss to play in four NCAA singles championships. Sachire reached the second round as a freshman, third round as a sophomore and lost in the first round as a junior. He has compiled an 11-8 record against the rest of the 63-player field this season.
IRISH VS. NCAA FIELD: Seven of Notre Dame’s 12 wins have come against the other 63 teams in the NCAA championship while the Irish have suffered all 10 of their losses to NCAA qualifiers.
MILLER AND SACHIRE ENTER RANKINGS: The senior doubles team of Trent Miller and Ryan Sachire started the season with a 2-5 record, including a 1-3 mark during the fall. Since an 8-2 win against Kentucky on Feb. 8, the pair has compiled a 14-3 record, with its only losses coming to two ranked opponents and in a tiebreaker. They entered the rankings for the first time since the preseason when they stood 48th on April 28, before falling out of the May 2 rankings, although not playing a match. The pair has wins over four ranked teams during their recent wins, including a win over Illinois’ 12th-ranked Jeff Laski and Jamal Parker at the Blue-Gray National Classic. Miller and Sachire helped the Irish win the doubles point against both Michigan and Ball State with wins over ranked opponents at No. 1 doubles.
MALHAME MAKES SINGLES DEBUT: Sophomore James Malhame played his first career dual singles match against Ball State on April 15, and beat Chris Varga 6-3, 6-3 at No. 6 singles and improved to 2-0 in dual matches and 4-0 overall with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Georgetown at the BIG EAST Championships. The singles appearance against Ball State marked his first since winning two matches at the William & Mary Invitational in October. Earlier in the dual-match season, Malhame joined his fellow classmates in taking his place in Notre Dame’s sophomore-dominated lineup. He has played at No. 3 doubles in 16 of the team’s first 20 dual matches in 2000 with both Casey Smith and Ashok Raju. Malhame and Smith went 3-0 at the Blue-Gray National Classic, helping the Irish win the doubles point against Virginia, Illinois and UAB.
SACHIRE NAMED BIG EAST MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: Ryan Sachire went 2-0 at No. 1 singles and dropped just seven games in four sets to win the BIG EAST championship most outstanding player award for the second consecutive year. He defeated Beau Brewer of Georgetown 6-2, 6-2 and Miami’s Tomas Smid 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Sachire is the only Notre Dame player to win the award.
LAFLIN CLINCHES WINS: Sophomore Andrew Laflin has won the clinching singles matches in five of Notre Dame’s 12 wins during the spring season, including decisive matches against Purdue and Northwestern in one weekend. Most recently he helped the Irish beat UAB 5-2 with his 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (11-9) after trailing 2-5 in the second and 3-8 in the match tiebreaker. He also won decisive matches in the 4-3 win over Ohio State and against Michigan State. His record of 19-15 includes wins in the fall over USC’s Nicholas Rainey and Wisconsin’s Danny Westerman and Scott Rutherford.
SMITH NETS RANKED WIN: Sophomore Casey Smith helped the Irish to a split of singles matches against 10th-ranked Texas with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win over 25th-ranked Longhorn Michael Blue, marking the highest-ranked opponent Smith has beaten in his collegiate career. He posted wins over two other ranked opponents this season, beating Illinois’ Jeff Laski and Kentucky’s Johan Hesoun.
ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 32nd among the 75 teams ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after finishing 1999 ranked 31st. Senior All-American Ryan Sachire is ranked ninth in singles. Sophomores Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico are ranked 29th in doubles.
HEAD COACH BOB BAYLISS: Irish head coach Bob Bayliss is in his 13th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 243-113 (.683) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 525-206 (.718), 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 10 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 the 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.
2000 IRISH SLATE: The Irish enter the NCAA championships after playing matches against 18 ranked teams, including three matches against top 10 teams. Notre Dame finished tied for fifth in its annual trip to Montgomery, Ala., for the prestigious Blue-Gray Classic.