March 29, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Irish men’s tennis team closed out their regular season home schedule with an upset over ninth-ranked Illinois, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon in front of a spirited crowd at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The 27th-ranked Irish move to 11-9 on the season while Illinois is now 13-5 on the year.
Notre Dame claimed the doubles point and also received singles wins from Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) to claim the win. With the match locked at 3-3, Anderson held serve to clinch the win for the Irish, completing the win with a drop-shot at the net that caught the line and spun just out of the reach of Meedo El Tabakh of Illinois. Sunday’s triumph marked Notre Dame’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent since April 1, 2007 when then fifth-ranked Notre Dame defeated eighth-ranked Illinois, 5-2, also at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
In doubles play, the 25th-ranked team of Helgeson and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) gave Notre Dame an early 1-0 lead, beating 37th-ranked Marc Spicijaric and Marek Czerwinski, 8-1. With the win, the Irish duo improved to 10-9 on the season at first doubles. Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) then clinched the doubles point with a win at second doubles. After their match was tied 2-2, Havens and Watt were able build a 6-4 lead before holding on for an 8-5 win over Roy Kalmanovich and Ruan Roelofse, with Watt serving out for the clinching win. With the doubles point already decided, Brain Livingston and Dennis Nevolo edged Stahl and Anderson at third doubles, 7-6 (7-5).
The Illini tied the match at 1-1 with a win at sixth singles as Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) dropped a match that included a tightly contested second set to Czerwinski, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2). Stahl put the Irish back on top with a 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 4 singles over Roelofse. With the win at No. 4 singles, Stahl improved to 10-6 in singles play, including a 5-0 mark in his last six singles starts.
At first singles, 22nd-ranked Helgeson put the Irish up 3-1 with a three-set win over Spicijaric, 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1. The win pushed Helgeson’s singles record to 10-8 and marked his fourth win of the weekend (two at first singles, two at first doubles). But moments later the Illini inched closer as Havens fell in three sets to Nevolo, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 at second singles. Then Illinois’ Kalmonovich tied the overall match score at 3-3 with a win against Watt at third singles, 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 6-4.
But with the pressure on, Anderson ensured that Notre Dame’s last regular season home match of the season was memorable as he held serve for the match-clinching win.
The Irish return to the courts when they travel to Louisville, Ky. on Saturday, April 11 to take on the Cardinals at 1:00 p.m. Two days later, the Irish conclude their regular season with a 2:00 p.m. match at Ball State on Monday, April 13. Recaps and box scores of both matches will also be posted on und.com.
NOTES: Notre Dame owns an 8-2 record when claiming the doubles point … the Irish improved to 7-3 at home on the year, including a 7-1 mark in their last eight home matches … the Irish also improved to 13-11 when facing rival Illinois under the guidance of head coach Bob Bayliss.
Illinois vs Notre DameMar 29, 2009 at Notre Dame, Ind.
#27 Notre Dame 4, #9 Illinois 3
Singles competition1. #22 Brett Helgeson (UND) def. #63 Marc Spicijaric (UI) 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-12. #35 Dennis Nevolo (UI) def. Stephen Havens (UND) 3-6, 6-3, 6-23. #43 Roy Kalmanovich (UI) def. Casey Watt (UND) 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 6-44. Daniel Stahl (UND) def. Ruan Roelofse (UI) 7-5, 6-35. David Anderson (UND) def. Meedo El Tabakh (UI) 7-6 (7-2), 6-46. Marek Czerwinski (UI) def. Niall Fitzgerald (UND) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
Doubles competition1. #25 Brett Helgeson/Tyler Davis (UND) def. #37 Marc Spicijaric/Marek Czerwinski (UI) 8-12. Stephen Havens/Casey Watt (UND) def. Roy Kalmanovich/Ruan Roelofse (UI) 8-53. Brian Livingston/Dennis Nevolo (UI) def. David Anderson/Daniel Stahl (UND) 7-6 (7-5)
Match Notes: Illinois 13-5; National ranking #9Notre Dame 11-9; National ranking #27Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,4,1,2,3,5)