March 23, 2002
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team moved to 16-4 with a 6-1 road win over Indiana Saturday afternoon. The Irish won the doubles point and the bottom five singles matches to gain the victory. Notre Dame is off to its best start since it was 16-4 to begin the 1997 season. Indiana, which had defeated the Irish in each of the past two seasons, fell to 6-7. Notre Dame will return to action Wednesday when it travels to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face 40th-ranked Michigan at 3:00 p.m.
“The match was harder fought than the score indicated,” said Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “They came very close to winning the doubles point, we came back to win from down a service break in two matches. I really respected Indiana’s effort.”
The Irish won the bottom two doubles matches to capture the doubles point for the first time in the last four matches. The Hoosiers drew first blood when Zach Held and Ryan Recht registered an 8-3 win at No. 1. Notre Dame rallied with an 8-6 victory by senior Aaron Talarico (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and freshman Brent D’Amico (Centennial, Colo.) at No. 3. Irish seniors James Malhame (Douglaston, N.Y.) and Ashok Raju (Morgantown, W. Va.) gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the match by notching a 9-7 win at No. 2 in the deciding match. It marked the fifth clinching win for the pair this spring.
In singles, Notre Dame won at each of the bottom five positions. Milan Rakvica, ranked 109th nationally in singles, was the lone winner for Indiana, taking a 6-4, 6-4 decision at No. 1 against 11th-ranked Javier Taborga (La Paz, Bolivia), breaking the Irish senior’s 11-match winning streak. Captain Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.) registered his fifth win over a ranked opponent this spring, upsetting No. 63 Jakub Praibis 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2. Praibis had won nine straight matches and held an 11-1 mark heading into the contest. Talarico and Luis Haddock-Morales (Caguas, Puerto Rico) each gained three-set victories with the senior winning 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 at No. 3 and the sophomore turning in a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 triumph at No. 4. Sophomore Matthew Scott (Paris France), ranked 64th nationally in singles, won 6-3, 6-4 at No. 5 and senior Andrew Laflin (Tampa, Fla.) won 7-6, 6-1 at No. 6.
Haddock-Morales has won seven of his last eight matches and is 14-4 this spring, while Scott improved to 18-1 in dual-match singles and 26-3 this season. Laflin moved to 15-1 this season and has won 29 of his last 32 matches.
#7 Notre Dame 6, Indiana 1
No. 1: #109 Milan Rakvica (IU) d. #11 Javier Taborga (ND) 6-4, 6-4
No. 2: Casey Smith (ND) d. #63 Jakub Praibis (IU) 6-4, 6-2
No. 3: Aaron Talarico (ND) d. Zach Held (IU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
No. 4: Luis Haddock-Morales (ND) d. Tommy Bagnato (IU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
No. 5: #64 Matthew Scott (ND) d. Ryan Recht (IU) 6-3, 6-4
No. 6: Andrew Laflin (ND) d. Ari Widlansky (IU) 7-6, 6-1
No. 1: Held/Recht (IU) d. #5 Smith/Taborga (ND) 8-3
No. 2: James Malhame/Ashok Raju (ND) d. Rakvica/Widlansky (IU) 9-7
No. 3: Brent D’Amico/Talarico (ND) d. Praibis/Reid Strand (IU) 8-6