March 30, 2002
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The fourth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team returned to its winning form on Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 29 Indiana State, 5-2, at the ISU Tennis Complex in Terre Haute, Ind. The Irish rebounded well from their upset loss at No. 46 Michigan on Wednesday, winning five of six singles matches against ISU, although four of those victories came in three sets.
Seniors Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia) and Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) were double winners for Notre Dame. The pair, ranked fifth in the nation in doubles, claimed an 8-4 victory at the No. 1 flight over the Sycamore duo of Stefan Hirn and David O’Connell. Taborga, the 11th-ranked singles player in the country, then outlasted Hirn at the No. 1 flight, winning 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, after trailing 2-4 in the final set. Smith matched his teammate’s gritty performance, edging 56th-ranked Vedran Vidovic, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, in No. 2 singles action. It marked the sixth time this season Smith has picked off a ranked opponent.
Senior Aaron Talarico (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and sophomore Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, P.R.) also had to go the distance to pull out singles wins. Talarico eased by Lovre Brajkovic, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 at the No. 3 flight, while Haddock-Morales fought his way past Henry Choi, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the No. 4 singles bout.
Senior Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla.) added the other point for the Irish, winning 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 singles. Laflin now is a sparkling 17-1 in dual matches this season and has won 31 of his last 34 individual contests.
“It took an inspired effort for us to win in our first outdoor match in more than two weeks,” Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss said. “Although I was disappointed with our doubles performance, I was excited to see our competitiveness in the singles matches. It was a good win for us over a strong opponent.”
Notre Dame (17-5) will be back in action Sunday, April 7, when it plays host to No. 43 SMU at 10 a.m. (CDT) at the Courtney Tennis Center (weather permitting). That match originally was scheduled for April 6, but it was moved to accommodate Taborga and Haddock-Morales, who will be participating in Davis Cup qualifying matches for their respective countries that weekend.
#4 Notre Dame 5, #29 Indiana State 2
No. 1: #11 Javier Taborga (ND) d. Stefan Hirn (ISU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
No. 2: Casey Smith (ND) d. #56 Vedran Vidovic (ISU) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
No. 3: Aaron Talarico (ND) d. Lovre Brajkovic (ISU) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
No. 4: Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Henry Choi (ISU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
No. 5: David O’Connell (ISU) d. Matthew Scott (ND) 6-3, 6-2
No. 6: Andrew Laflin (ND) d. Dalibor Mihaljlovic (ISU) 6-4, 6-1
No. 1: #5 Taborga/Smith (ND) d. Hirn/O’Connell (ISU) 8-4
No. 2: Choi/Vidovic (ISU) d. James Malhame/Haddock-Morales (ND) 8-5
No. 3: Brajkovic/Mihaljlovic (ISU) d. Ashok Raju/Brent D’Amico (ND) 8-5
Team Records: #4 Notre Dame (17-5), #29 Indiana State (9-9)
— ND —