Feb. 29, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team, ranked 43rd nationally, lost a tough 5-2 match to BIG EAST rival No. 33 Miami Sunday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish (7-5, 1-1), playing without their top singles player for the third straight match, swept the doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead, but the Hurricanes (7-0, 1-0) won five of six in singles to emerge with the win. Notre Dame will return to the courts on Tuesday afternoon, playing host to No. 47 Michigan State at 4:00 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Miami held a 3-2 lead late in the match, but things looked promising for the Irish. Notre Dame was up a set at No. 6 singles and had just won the second set to force a third at No. 5. After losing the first set 6-4 at No. 5 singles, freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) broke serve in the ninth game of the second to take a 5-4 lead, then saved four break points to force a decisive frame. On serve at 1-2 in the third set, Colin Purcell got consecutive service breaks en route to winning the set 6-1 and clinching the win for the ‘Canes.
After the outcome was decided, Miami rallied at No. 6 singles winning both the second set and the match in tiebreakers. Sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) won the first set 6-3 and broke serve to tie the second set 4-4 after being down a break, but Miami’s Jeremiah Fuller held serve twice, then prevailed in the tiebreakers to win 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-7).
Notre Dame’s only singles win came at the No. 3 position, as freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) defeated John Hoyes 7-5, 6-2. Bass improves to 9-3 in dual-match play and 15-5 overall.
The Irish dominated the doubles portion, winning all three matches to take the doubles point for just the fourth time this spring, but second day in a row. Stephen Bass recorded his first doubles win in dual-match play, pairing with Langenkamp for an 8-4 win over Miami’s Josh Cohen and Eric Hechtman at No. 3.
Senior tri-captains Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) and Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) clinched the point for the Irish at the No. 2 position, beating Hoyes and Fuller 8-3. Haddock and Scott improved to 7-1 as a doubles team.
At the top position, Keckley and junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) completed the doubles sweep with an 8-5 victory over Tim Krebs and Colin Purcell.
Miami answered back with three quick wins in the singles portion, to set up the victory. Hechtman was the first off the court with a 6-3, 6-3 win over D’Amico at No. 2. Moments later, Krebs topped freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) 6-2, 6-3 at No. 4. Freshman Josh Cohen gave the Hurricanes a 3-1 advantage, beating Scott 6-2, 6-3at No. 1.
For the singles portion of the match, the Irish were without Haddock, who is still battling a groin injury suffered in last Saturday’s upset win over #37 Northwestern. He did not play singles or doubles on Thursday at Illinois and was questionable for any action Sunday.
Notre Dame, which plays just three regular-season matches against BIG EAST teams, fell to 1-1 this spring in conference play. The Irish defeated St. John’s 6-0 last month and will be at Virginia Tech on April 4. The BIG EAST does not have round robin play during the regular season. Head-to-head results of teams, as well as national rankings, are the main factors in determining the participants and seeding of the six qualifiers for the BIG EAST Championship, scheduled for April 29-May 1 in Coral Gables, Fla.
With today’s match the Irish concluded a stretch of five consecutive matches against higher-ranked teams. Notre Dame had a pair of 5-2 wins over No. 37 Northwestern and No. 40 SMU. The Irish fell 7-0 to No. 1 Illinois and lost a close match to No. 12 Ohio State 4-3 before Sunday.
Tuesday’s macth against Michigan State is the last scheduled home match for the Irish this season, although the Kentucky match, originally scheduled for January 27, but postponed due to Wildcat travel complications, may be rescheduled for sometime in April at Notre Dame.
#33 Miami 5, #43 Notre Dame 2
No. 1: Josh Cohen (UM) d. Matthew Scott (ND) 6-2,6-3
No. 2: Eric Hechtman (UM) d. Brent D’Amico (ND) 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Stephen Bass (ND) d. Josh Hoyes (UM) 7-5, 6-2
No. 4: Tim Krebs (UM) d. Barry King (ND) 6-2, 6-3
No. 5: Colin Purcell (UM) d. Ryan Keckley (ND) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
No. 6: Jeremiah Fuller (UM) d. Eric Langenkamp (ND) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-7)
Order of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 3, 5*, 6
No. 1: D’Amico/Keckley (ND) d. Krebs/Purcell (UM) 8-5
No. 2: *Haddock/Scott (ND) d. Hoyes/Fuller (UM) 8-3
No. 3: S. Bass/Langenkamp (ND) d. Cohen/Hechtman (UM) 8-4
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1*
* denotes clinching match
— ND —