Feb. 24, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team registered a 6-1 victory over #35 Miami Sunday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish swept the doubles matches and won five of six singles matches to improve to 11-3 on the season. Miami fell to 2-3. The win broke a four-match Irish losing streak to Miami, conisisting of regular season losses and defeats in the BIG EAST championship match in each of the past two seasons. Notre Dame will return to action next weekend when it travels to La Jolla, Calif. for the Pacific Coast Doubles tournament from Friday through Sunday, March 1-3.
The Irish swept the doubles matches for the fifth straight match to take 1-0 lead. The seventh-ranked team of seniors Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) and Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia) won 8-6 at No. 1, while classmates James Malhame (Douglaston, N.Y.) and Ashok Raju (Morgantown, W. Va.) gained an 8-3 victory at No. 2 and sophomore Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, Puerto Rico) and freshman Brent D’Amico (Centennial, Colo.) won 8-6 at No. 3
In singles, the Irish won five of six matches with the two wins at the top of the lineup coming in three sets. Taborga, ranked 23rd in singles, continued his success against highly-ranked opponents, downing #18 Todd Widom 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 at No. 1. Smith, ranked 94th, gained a 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 triumph at No. 2. At No. 3, Haddock-Morales won 6-4, 7-6, while 51st-ranked sophomore Matthew Scott (Paris, France) won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4. Tarik El Bassiouni avoided the shutout for the Hurricanes with a 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 win at No. 5, while senior Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla.), ranked 136th, won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6.
The win for Taborga improved his record to 10-1 at No. 1 singles. The senior, who earned a career-high singles ranking of No. 23 last week, is 12-2 in dual-match play and 19-7 overall, including victories over defending NCAA singles and doubles champion Matias Boeker of Georgia (No. 1 in preseason singles rankings), #17 Danny Westerman of Wisconsin, #18 Widom, #21 Jeremy Wurtzman of Ohio State, #22 Alex Hartman of Mississippi, then-#24 Michael Yani of Duke, then-#74 Jonathan Endrikat of UC-Irvine, #84 Ben Cox of Michigan and #93 Prakash Armitraj of USC — with eight of the nine wins coming in straight sets. He has won 15 of his last 18 singles matches and all three of his losses in that span were to ranked players (#2 Harsh Mankad of Minnesota, #5 Al Garland of Pepperdine and #44 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 20-4 this season in singles, while Scott remained perfect this spring with his 14th consecutive victory, improving to 22-2 in 2001-02. Laflin holds a 10-0 singles mark this season and has won 25 of his last 27 matches. Smith and Taborga have won seven of their last eight in doubles.
Notre Dame defeated Miami for the first time since 1999 and the first time at home since the season prior to that. The Irish and Hurricanes have met in the BIG EAST championship match each season since Notre Dame joined the conference in 1996, with the Irish taking the title in 1996 and 1999. The squads have also met in the regular season in each year over that span except ’97. Since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST, the Irish and ‘Canes have split 12 matches.
#7 Notre Dame 6, #35 Miami 1
No. 1: #23 Javier Taborga (ND) d. #18 Todd Widom (M) 6-7, 7-5, 7-6
No. 2: #94 Casey Smith (ND) d. Tomas Smid (M) 6-3, 6-7, 6-1
No. 3: Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Jose Lieberman (M) 6-4, 7-6
No. 4: #51 Matthew Scott (ND) d. Andrew McDade (M) 6-3, 6-2
No. 5: Tarik El Bassiouni (M) d. Brian Farrell (ND) 2-6,7-6, 6-4
No. 6: #136 Andrew Laflin (ND) d. Maxime LePivent (M) 6-1, 6-2
No. 1: #7 Smith/Taborga (ND) d. McDade/Andrew Golub (M) 8-6
No. 2: James Malhame/Ashok Raju (ND) d. Smid/Lieberman (M) 8-3
No. 3: Brent D’Amico/Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Widom/El Bassiouni (M) 8-6