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No. 4 Men's Tennis Falls To No. 8 Illinois In Blue-Gray Finals

March 17, 2002

The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team, playing without the services of No. 3 singles and doubles player Aaron Talarico, lost a hard-fought match to eighth-ranked Illinois 4-2 today in the finals of the 2002 Blue-Gray National Classic. Notre Dame, who won the Blue-Gray title in 2001 and is ranked fourth in the nation, falls to15-4 on the season, while Illinois, who lost to the Irish 4-3 only 11 days ago in Champaign, Ill., improves to 12-3 in 2002.

Notre Dame had to reshuffle its singles and doubles lineup after senior Aaron Talarico was unable to play Sunday after suffering dehydration and heat exhausting Saturday against Harvard. Talarico spent Saturday night in the hospital and was unable to play against the Illini Sunday.

For the third time this weekend, Notre Dame lost the doubles points, falling behind 1-0. Notre Dame’s number-one doubles team of Casey Smith and Javier Taborga, ranked fifth in the nation, suffered its second loss of the tournament, losing to seventh-ranked Amer Delic and Michael Calkins 7-6, 6-1. The No. 2 doubles team of Notre Dame’s James Malhame and Ashok Raju also lost as the Illini team of Phillip Stolt and Brian Wilson secured the doubles point with a 8-4 victory.

Notre Dame made it interesting, however, as Taborga, defeated Delic, who is ranked ninth nationally, for the second time in 11 days by scores of 1-6, 6-4 and 7-5. On the weekend, Taborga was a perfect 4-0 in singles, earning tournament most valuable player honors. For the season, the senior is now 15-1 at the No. 1 position and has defeated six players ranked in the top 25, including Delic twice and the defending NCAA singles and doubles champion.

Notre Dame’s other win came at the No. 4 position as Matt Scott, who normally plays No. 5 singles, defeated Michael Costa 6-4, 7-5. Luis Haddock-Morales was leading in his match over Phillip Stolt, but the Illini clinched the match when Nathan Zeder defeated Brent D’Amico 6-3, 2-6 and 6-3. D’ Amico, who moved into the singles lineup today when Talarico could not play, gave a valiant effort in the loss.

Notre Dame returns to action when it play Indiana on Saturday, March 23 in Bloomington, Ind. Match time is 1:00 p.m.


o Notre Dame senior Andrew Laflin’s personal 16-match winning streak came to an end today as he lost to Calkins 7-6, 6-1 at the No. 5 singles spot. Laflin, who normally plays No. 6 singles, had a perfect 14-0 this season before the loss today.

o With the loss, Notre Dame has a record of 8-8 all-time on St. Patrick’s Day.

#8 Illinois 4, #4 Notre Dame 2(Notre Dame players listed first)
#20 Javier Taborga def. #9 Amer Delic 1-6, 6-4, 7-5Casey Smith lost to #92 Brian Wilson 6-3, 6-0Luis Haddock-Morales led #43 Phillip Stolt 6-3, 5-7, 5-4 (abandoned)#53 Matt Scott def. Michael Kosta 6-5, 7-5Andrew Laflin lost to #71 Michael Calkins 7-6, 6-1Brent D'Amico lost to Nathan Zeder 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
Doubles:#5 Smith/Taborga lost to #7 Delic/Calkins 8-2James Malhame/Ashok Raju lost to Phillip/Wilson 8-4D'Amico/Partner led #58 Kosta/Zeder 7-5 (abandoned)