March 4, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In a thrilling four-hour match, the No. 26 Notre Dame men’s tennis team weathered a 1-0 deficit after doubles and a trio of three-set singles matches to knock off No. 58 Maryland, 5-2, in Sunday action at Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The final score offers no indication of the effort both teams gave in a match that came down to three-set matches at one, two and six singles. The Irish (12-6) held a slim 3-1 lead when senior Casey Watt sealed the victory with a third-set tiebreak victory (2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) over No. 91 Maros Horny.
The day began with the Terrapins on the brink of elimination in two doubles matches, but Maryland was able to rally to take the doubles point. At both one and three doubles, the Irish needed only one more point to earn victory. At one, Watt and Niall Fitzgerald held a 7-5 advantage with Watt serving. However, the No. 36 duo of Horny and John Collins broke Watt’s serve and then scored the next three points to earn the 9-7 victory. At No. 3 doubles, Sam Keeton and Billy Pecor held a 7-6 lead, but couldn’t close out Jesse Kiuru and Andy Magee, losing in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (4).
The Irish began their comeback in singles action as Keeton won at three in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, over Collins. Notre Dame next turned to Pecor, who battled through a tough first set win to knock off Laine in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, at No. 4 singles. Finally Moros gave the Irish a 3-1 lead with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win at No. 5 singles.
The match tightened up from there however, as the remaining three matches entered a deciding third set, with the Irish only needing one match to earn the victory. Watt provided that match at No. 1 singles, as he rallied from a first set loss to win the remaining two sets and pick up the win, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5). The win for Watt was his first over a ranked foe this season as the Gibsonia, Pa., product has played five top-10 opponents at No. 1 singles so far.
With the Irish victory assured, Andrews knocked off No. 122 Stefan, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, at No. 2 singles and Maryland’s Andy Magee took down Michael Moore, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, at No. 6 singles. Andrews has now defeated four ranked opponents this year.
Notre Dame is off from competition for two weeks, before heading to Tampa, Fla., to meet BIG EAST foe South Florida on March 17. Fans can follow the match via live results, with a link available on UND.com.
No. 1 Singles
Casey Watt (ND) d. No. 91 Maros Horny (MD), 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5)
No. 2 Singles
No. 45 Greg Andrews (ND) d. No. 122 Vlad Stefan (MD), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
No. 3 Singles
Sam Keeton (ND) d. John Collins (MD), 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 Singles
Billy Pecor (ND) d. Tommy Laine (MD), 7-5, 6-1
No. 5 Singles
Blas Moros (ND) d. Jesse Kiuru (MD), 6-3, 7-6 (3)
No. 6 Singles
Andy Magee (MD) d. Michael Moore (ND), 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
Order of Finish: 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 6
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2