March 27, 2002
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team lost a close 4-3 decision to Michigan Wednesday afternoon at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines won the doubles point and split the six singles matches to gain the victory. Notre Dame (16-5) is listed fourth in this week’s Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released earlier on Wednesday. It marks the second time this season the Irish have been ranked in that slot and is the second-highest ranking in school history. Michigan, ranked 46th, improved to 10-5 and has won three of the last four home meetings with the Irish. Notre Dame will return to action Saturday when it travels to Terre Haute, Ind. to face 29th-ranked Indiana State at 1:00 p.m.
“We just didn’t play with the same emotion today that we have been,” said Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “We played not to lose and they played to win. They deserved to win the match. I think Michigan is actually a top-20-caliber team.”
Michigan won the bottom two doubles matches to gain a 1-0 lead. Henry Beam and Matt Lockin drew first blood with an 8-6 win at No. 2. Greg Novak and Anthony Jackson then claimed the doubles point with an 8-5 triumph at No. 3. Irish seniors Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) and Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia), the fifth-ranked doubles team in the nation, avoided the sweep with a 9-8 victory at No. 1.
The Wolverines won the top three singles matches to clinch the victory. Michigan took a 3-0 lead with wins at Nos. 1 and 3 singles. Henry Beam, ranked 54th nationally in singles, upset 11th-ranked Taborga 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 and then Ben Cox delivered a 6-2, 7-5 victory to put the Wolverines within a point of the biggest upset in head coach Mark Mees’ tenure. The Irish rallied when sophomore Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, Puerto Rico) completed a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 4 and 64th-ranked classmate Matthew Scott (Paris, France) defeated No. 124 Greg Novak 7-5, 6-4 at No. 5. Freshman Matt Lockin then secured the Wolverine win with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Smith at No. 2. Lockin also knocked off Smith, the fifth seed, in the second round of last fall’s Omni Hotels Region IV Championships. After the outcome was determined, Irish senior Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla) won 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 at No. 6.
Haddock-Morales has won eight of his last nine matches and is 15-4 this spring, while Scott improved to 19-1 this season in dual matches and 27-3 overall. Laflin moved to 16-1 this season and has won 30 of his last 33 matches.
#46 Michigan 4, #4 Notre Dame 3
No. 1: #54 Henry Beam (M) d. #11 Javier Taborga (ND) 6-2, 6-2
No. 2: Matt Lockin (M) d. Casey Smith (ND) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
No. 3: Ben Cox (M) d. #145 Aaron Talarico (ND) 6-2, 7-5
No. 4: Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Anthony Jackson (M) 6-4, 6-4
No. 5: #64 Matthew Scott (ND) d. #124 Greg Novak (M) 7-5, 6-4
No. 6: #126 Andrew Laflin (ND) d. David Anving (M) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
No. 1: #5 Smith/Taborga (ND) d. Brett Baudinet/Chris Shaya (M) 9-8
No. 2: Beam/Lockin (M) d. James Malhame/Ashok Raju (ND) 8-6
No. 3: Jackson/Novak (M) d. Brent D’Amico/Talarico (ND) 8-5