March 14, 2002
Montgomery, Ala. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team, ranked fourth in the nation, started defense of its 2001 tournament title in grand fashion with a 4-0 victory over No. 45 Tulsa (11-5) at the Blue-Gray National Classic. Notre Dame improved to 13-3 this season and will play Alabama-Birmingham in the quarterfinals on Friday. Alabama-Birmingham upset No. 36 Rice 4-1 today in Montgomery, Ala.
The Irish, playing outdoors for the first time this season, started on a positive note by winning the doubles point. Notre Dame’s number-one doubles team of Casey Smith and Javier Taborga, ranked fifth in the nation, defeated Tulsa’s Dane McGregor and Shri Sudhakara, ranked 30th nationally, 8-5. It was the ninth victory in Smith and Taborga’s last 10 matches. Notre Dame’s third double team of Aaron Talarico and Brent D’Amico easily handled the Golden Hurricane team of Alejandro Tejerina and Sean Monk 8-2. The No. 2 doubles match featuring Notre Dame’s James Malhame and Ashok Raju and Tulsa’s Ryan Livesay and Dustin Taylor was abandoned with the Irish team leading 7-6, after Notre Dame secured the doubles point.
In singles, Taborga improved to 12-1 at the No. 1 position after defeating Pawel Sebanski 6-2, 6-3. Taborga is ranked 20th in the nation in singles. At the No. 3 position, Talarico won his match over Livesay in straight sets 6-1, 6-2, while Andrew Laflin secured the match for the Irish, winning in straight sets over Sudhakara 6-3, 6-3. Laflin, playing in the sixth spot, improved to 13-0 this season and has now won 15 straight matches.
The No 2 singles match between Notre Dame’s Smith and McGregor was abandoned with Smith leading 7-6, 2-1. Notre Dame’s Luis Morales-Haddock was tied 6-6 in his match when it was abandoned and Matt Scott, who is ranked 53rd nationally, was trailing Taylor 2-6, 4-5, when Notre Dame clinched the overall match.
“We had a good effort for our first outdoor match. It was breezy and warm (78 degrees) today. We didn’t handle the conditions perfectly, but we were gritty and resourceful in getting the win,” head coach Bobby Bayliss said.
#4 Notre Dame 4, #46 Tulsa 0
(Notre Dame players listed first)
#20 Javier Taborga def. Pawel Sebanski 6-2, 6-3Casey Smith led Dane McGregor 7-6, 2-1 (abandoned)#121 Aaron Talarico def. Ryan Livesay 6-1, 6-2Luis Haddock-Morales vs. Alejandro Tejerina 6-6 (abandoned)#53 Matt Scott trailed Dustin Taylor 2-6, 4-5 (abandoned)Andrew Laflin def. Shri Sudhakara 6-3, 6-3
Doubles:#5 Smith/Taborga def. #30 McGregor/Sudhakara 8-5James Malhame/Ashok Raju led Livesay/Taylor 7-6 (abandoned)Talarico/Brent D'Amico def. Tejerina/Sean Monk 8-2