January 18, 1999

* Irish welcome DePaul, Miami (Ohio) and William & Mary
* Sachire enters dual-match season ranked third
* Irish schedule features 12 ranked teams, seven ranked opponents at home

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 24th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team opens its 1999 dual-match season by playing host to the adidas Quad Meet on Sat., Jan. 23. The Irish will welcome DePaul, Miami (Ohio) and William & Mary to the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: The Irish open their 77th year of men’s tennis and 11th season in the Eck Tennis Pavilion this weekend as hosts of the four-team, one-day adidas Quad Meet on Sat., Jan. 23. Notre Dame will take on Miami (Ohio) at 8:00 a.m., followed by a matchup between DePaul and William & Mary. The losing teams will square off in the third match of the day with the meet winner to be determined in the final match of the day.

Notre Dame has faced Miami in 10 previous matches, with the Irish winning the eight of them. The Irish and Redhawks last met a year ago with Notre Dame winning 5-1. Notre Dame owns a 26-0 advantage in the all-time series versus DePaul while Notre Dame and William & Mary have split the two matches they have played. Irish assistant coach Mike Morgan served as assistant coach for the Tribe and head coach Peter Daub for the 1996-97 season.

1999 PREVIEW: The Notre Dame men’s tennis team will have a different look after the Irish lost half of their 1998 dual-match lineup to graduation but return a solid group of players and welcome one of the best freshman classes in recent history. The two mainstays in the ’98 lineup, senior Brian Patterson (Falmouth, Maine) and junior Ryan Sachire (Canfield, Ohio), combined for 38 dual-match singles wins last year.

Patterson was nearly flawless at No. 3 singles last year with a 17-2 record and a 20-3 overall dual-match record. With his strong backcourt game, Patterson won 10 consecutive singles matches at one point during the season and ended the year with eight straight wins. He teamed up with Jakub Pietrowski to qualify for the NCAA doubles championship the last two years.

Sachire was one of six members of the United States Tennis Association Summer All-American team last summer. Prior to joining the summer team, Sachire used his strong serve and compact groundstrokes to become Notre Dame’s first All-American since 1994 when he advanced to the third round at the ’98 NCAA championships and was one of 16 seeded players in the draw. Sachire was ranked as high as 13th in the country before ending the season ranked 20th with a 34-14 singles record and 18-6 dual-match record.

Senior Andy Warford (Bismarck, N.D.) developed his aggressive, all-court game and is ready to solidify a spot in the lineup. Warford went 6-4 in singles in ’98 after being inserted into the lineup. Junior Matt Horsley (Lisle, Ill.) overcame wrist surgery last year to finish with a 7-1 record at No. 6 singles and a 10-6 dual-match record. He teamed with Sachire to finish 18-4 in doubles. Junior Trent Miller (San Diego, Calif.) saw limited action in the ’97 fall season. With his great serve, forehand and his aggressive play, he could have a significant impact on the lineup.

Sophomore Matt Daly (Wellesley, Mass.) recovered from knee surgery to post a 4-3 singles record in open matches a year ago. He played in four matches at No. 3 doubles with both Patterson and Sachire. Another sophomore whose game has reached the point where he is capable of moving into the lineup, Mark Overdevest (Bradenton, Fla.) went 7-4 in singles as a freshman and won two matches at the Rolex Regional with one of the wins coming against Purdue’s No. 2 player, Cris James.

Among the freshman class, Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla.) and Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) have been highly ranked in the junior rankings, while Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia) has international experience with Bolivia’s Davis Cup team. Laflin won the Florida state high championship as a senior at Jesuit High School where he was a four-time team MVP and three-time captain. Smith finished fifth at the Clay Court Championships and was seeded 13th at the Kalamazoo championships in 1997. He bypassed the junior tournaments this past summer and played on the professional satellite tour where he beat a number of established college players. Taborga joined Bolivia’s Davis Cup team while only 18 years old, playing in numerous qualifying matches. He was the top-ranked player in four age groups in Bolivia and brings a left-handed serve and volley game to Notre Dame.

Aaron Talarico (Laguna Beach, Calif.) advanced to the finals of the Southern California state singles championship in his senior year in high school. He followed up that performance with six wins in the consolations at Kalamazoo. Adrian Hidaka (Tokyo, Japan) comes to Notre Dame after a standout junior career in Japan at St. Mary’s International High School. James Malhame (Douglaston, N.Y.) is coming off a year in which he won three matches at the National Clay Court championships and four matches at Kalamazoo.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The Irish, who finished 18-8 a year ago, will play 12 matches against ranked teams and will face seven ranked teams at home. Of these seven teams, three top 10 teams, Duke, Illinois and Texas, will travel to Notre Dame.

SACHIRE REACHES GRAND SLAM FINAL: Ryan Sachire highlighted his fall season by advancing to the final of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships Oct. 15-18, 1998, in Austin, Texas, the second of the four ITA collegiate grand slam events, before losing 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to Harvard’s second-seeded and fourth-ranked James Blake. Sachire became just the second Notre Dame men’s tennis player to reach the final of a collegiate grand slam, joining David DiLucia in 1992. Sachire reached the final by rallying for a 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-4 semifinal win over Washington’s unseeded and 21st-ranked Robert Kendrick. The Canfield, Ohio, native and former Canfield High School standout was one of eight seeds in the 64-player draw at the ITA All-American Championships. He reached the quarterfinals of the tournament last year as a sophomore. Sachire finished with a 5-1 record in the tournament and posted straight-set wins over Texas A&M’s Shuon Madden, Northwestern’s 64th-ranked Doug Bohaboy, Miami’s 46th-ranked Ivan Rodrigo and Stanford’s 30th-ranked Alex Kim to reach the semifinals.

ITA RANKINGS: Notre Dame enters the dual-match season ranked 24th as a team after a final ranking of 26 after an 18-8 in 1998. Ryan Sachire is ranked third in the latest rankings, released by the ITA on Dec. 8., the highest ranking for an Irish singles player since David DiLucia finished the 1992 regular season as the No. 1 player in the country. Sachire entered the 1998 fall season ranked No. 8 in the preseason but vaulted five spots based on his fall performance. He teamed with Brian Patterson to form the 28th ranked doubles team in the preseason rankings but the pair played in just one fall tournament and slipped out of the latest rankings.

HEAD COACH BOB BAYLISS: Bob Bayliss is in his 12th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 214-95 (.693) record at Notre Dame and a 29-year career mark of 496-189 (.724), the sixth best winning percentage among active coaches. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in each of the last eight 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 five-time conference coach of year has coached his players to 12 All-America honors in his 11 years at Notre Dame, with junior Ryan Sachire his latest All-American.

FALL REVIEW: In addition to reaching the final of the ITA All-American Championships, Ryan Sachire led the team in wins with his 12-3 record, including seven wins over ranked players. Matt Daly was right behind Sachire with 11 wins against just two losses. He went 5-0 at the Thunderbird Invitational at Arizona State in the round robin. His first loss came to teammate Casey Smith 7-5, 6-4 at the Rice Invitational and his second loss came in the third round of the ITA Region IV championship to eventual champion Mark Loughrin of Wisconsin by a 6-1, 7-6 (6) score.

Andrew Laflin finished with a 7-5 record in his first fall season at Notre Dame and qualified for the ITA Region IV championship where he had a first round bye, won his second round match and lost in the third round to Jon Svenson of Minnesota. Smith opened his collegiate tennis career by winning his flight at the Rice Invitational and earned a seed at the ITA Region IV championship. Aaron Talarico lost just once, finishing with a 7-1 record and a five match winning streak at the Thunderbird Invitational. Javier Taborga went 5-3 with two of his three losses coming in three sets.

IRISH SPLIT FALL EXHIBITION MATCHES: The Irish played a pair of exhibition dual matches against Stanford and Baylor at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on the Friday nights prior to football games against the Cardinal and the Bears. Results for these matches did not count on the teams’ records but the individual singles and doubles results are reflected in each players’ record. Notre Dame dropped a tight 5-2 match to defending NCAA champion Stanford on Oct. 2, as the Cardinal won two of three double matches to claim the doubles point and then won two three-set matches for a 5-2 win over the Irish.

In the No. 1 singles match, Ryan Sachire, then ranked eighth in the preseason rankings, defeated sixth-ranked Stanford senior Ryan Wolters 6-2, 6-1. The Cardinal’s Geoff Abrams and Alex Kim then won in straight sets at Nos. 2 and 3 singles to take a 3-1 lead. Stanford freshman K.J. Hippensteel clinched the match for the Cardinal by winning a tight, three-set match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 over Casey Smith at No. 4 singles. Matt Daly won Notre Dame’s second singles match when Stanford’s Scotty Scott was forced to retire in the second set due to cramps at No. 5 singles. Ali Ansari closed out match with a three-set win over Irish freshman Andrew Laflin at No. 6 singles.

In doubles, Wolters and Hippensteel teamed up to beat Brian Patterson and Sachire at No. 1, while Abrams and Kim beat Daly and Smith at No. 2 doubles to clinch the doubles point for the Cardinal. Andy Warford and Aaron Talarico won at No. 3 doubles over Ansari and Scott.

Against Baylor on Oct. 30, Daly won a tight 6-3, 7-5 match at No. 5 singles over Baylor’s Johannes Michalsky to clinch a 4-3 victory for the Irish. Notre Dame won the doubles point and the first two singles matches to lead 3-0 before Baylor won three straight to tie the match. Daly trailed 4-5 in the second set as Michalsky served to send the match into a third set. Daly then broke serve to tie the set at 5-5, saved two break points to hold serve for 6-5 and then won the match with another service break.

Sachire beat Johann Jooste 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles, and Laflin won 6-0, 6-4 over Mark Williams at No. 6 singles for the other Irish singles wins, which had put Notre Dame ahead 3-0. Baylor’s comeback began with a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles by Jorge Aldrete over Warford. Csongor Bibza then beat Casey Smith 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 at No. 4, and Pawel Gaidzik downed Patterson at No. 2 singles to complete comeback for the Bears. In the doubles competition, Sachire and Patterson beat Gajdzik and Michalsky 8-3 at No. 1, and Daly and Smith edged Bibza and Jooste 8-5 at No. 2 to clinch the doubles point for Notre Dame. David Hodge and Williams beat Talarico and Warford 8-4 at No. 3 doubles for Baylor.