Feb. 20, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team registered a 7-0 victory over #60 Michigan State Wednesday in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish did not drop a match in singles or doubles for the second straight match and improved to 10-3. Michigan State lost for the second time in nine matches this season. Notre Dame will return to action Sunday, taking on #35 Miami in the Eck Tennis Pavilion at 1:00 p.m.
For the sixth time this season, Notre Dame swept the doubles matches. Seniors James Malhame (Douglaston, N.Y.) and Ashok Raju (Morgantown, W. Va.) finished first with an 8-3 victory at No. 2. Classmates Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) and Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia), the sixth-ranked doubles team in the nation, clinched the doubles point for Notre Dame with an 8-3 win at No. 1. Senior Aaron Talarico (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and freshman Brent D’Amico (Centennial, Colo.) completed the sweep with a 9-8 (7-2) victory at No. 3.
The Irish won all six singles matches to gain the victory. Senior Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla.) completed his match first, winning 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6. Sophomore Matthew Scott (Paris, France) gave the Irish a 3-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 4 before Smith clinched the victory with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph at No. 2. After the outcome was determined, sophomore Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, Puerto Rico) won 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 at No 3, junior Brian Farrell (Lilburn, Ga.) won 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 5 and Taborga gained a 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 victory at No. 1.
The win for Taborga improved his record to 9-1 at No. 1 singles and helped his bid to make a big jump from his No. 95 position in the national singles rankings when they are released again Friday. He is 11-2 in dual-match play and 18-7 overall, including victories over defending NCAA singles and doubles champion Matias Boeker of Georgia (No. 1 in preseason singles rankings), #20 Jeremy Wurtzman of Ohio State, #21 Alex Hartman of Mississippi, #24 Michael Yani of Duke, #37 Danny Westerman of Wisconsin, #74 Jonathan Endrikat of UC-Irvine, #99 Ben Cox of Michigan and then-#97 Prakash Armitraj of USC — with all eight wins coming in straight sets. He has won 14 of his last 17 singles matches and all three of his losses in that span were to ranked players (#2 Harsh Mankad of Minnesota, #7 Al Garland of Pepperdine and #78 Aleksey Zharinov of Minnesota). Out of his seven defeats this season, five came to nationally-ranked players and three were in match tiebreakers.
Haddock-Morales is 19-4 this season in singles, while Scott remained perfect this spring with his 13th consecutive victory, improving to 21-2 in 2001-02. Laflin holds a 9-0 singles mark this season and has won 24 of his last 26 matches.
The doubles team of D’Amico and Talarico won its sixth consecutive match, while Smith and Taborga have been victorious in six of their last seven doubles matches.
The win was the 13th in a row for Notre Dame over Michigan State. It also marked the third straight year the Irish shutout the Spartans.
#7 Notre Dame 7, #60 Michigan State 0
No. 1: #95 Javier Taborga (ND) d. Chris Mitchell (MSU) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3
No. 2: #88 Casey Smith (ND) d. Andrew Formanczyk (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
No. 3: #83 Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Goran Topalo (MSU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 4: Matthew Scott (ND) d. Eric Simonton (MSU) 6-3, 6-1
No. 5: Brian Farrell (ND) d. Jimmy McGuire (MSU) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)
No. 6: Andrew Laflin (ND) d. Cameron Marshall (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
No. 1: #6 Smith/Taborga (ND) d. McGuire/Simonton (MSU) 8-3
No. 2: James Malhame/Ashok Raju (ND) d. Formanczyk/Mitchell (MSU) 8-3
No. 3: Brent D’Amico/Aaron Talarico (ND) d. Adam Hourani/Goran Topalo (MSU) 9-8 (7-2)