March 12, 2004
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 44th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (10-6) lost 4-0 to #11 Virginia Commonwealth (14-2) in quarterfinal action of the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic Friday afternoon at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center. The Irish had opportunities in the three longest matches to make the contest close, but they were abandoned once the Rams clinched the victory.
Notre Dame will conclude its play in the Blue/Gray Classic by taking on #27 Mississippi State at 11 a.m. (CST) on Saturday in consolation action. It will be the third match against a top-30 team in as many days for the Irish, who upset #30 Fresno State in the event’s opening round.
For the first time in six matches, Notre Dame did not win the doubles point, as the Rams took the first two matches off the court for a 1-0 advantage. Spaniards Sergi Arumi and Francesc Lleal were done first with an 8-5 victory over Notre Dame sophomore Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) at No. 3. Daniel Lohff of Sweden and Florian Marquardt of Germany clinched the doubles point for VCU with an 8-4 win over the 44th-ranked team of junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) at No. 1.
In the remaining match, senior tri-captains Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), ranked 29th, were one point away from victory but were forced to abandon the match when the No. 1 contest ended. Haddock and Scott were up 7-6 and 40-15 over Pedro Nieto of Spain and Marton Ott of Hungary.
In singles, VCU got easy wins at Nos. 2, 3, and 4 to clinch victory. Frenchman Arnaud LeCloerec was done first, defeating Scott 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2. Ott put the Rams a point away from triumph by topping D’Amico 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 before Arumi provided the clincher, a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Bass at No. 4.
“VCU played awfully well at Nos. 2, 3, and 4,” said Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “I’d like to get the number of the train that hit us in those positions. But we’ll try to make up for that tomorrow.”
Haddock appeared to be on the verge of notching a second upset in as many days. He won the first set 6-4 against 84th-ranked Nieto at No. 1 and was up a service break at 3-2 in the second when his contest was abandoned. Haddock topped #51 Greg Shearer of Fresno State 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday.
The two bottom singles matches appeared destined for third sets. In both matchups — Marquardt vs. freshman Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) at No. 5 and Lleal vs. Keckley at No. 6 — the Rams took the first set 6-4, but the Irish held a 5-2 second-set advantage when the match was abandoned.
Five of the six Notre Dame losses this season have come against top-15 teams, after previous Irish defeats against #1 Illinois, #8 Duke, #9 Texas A&M, and #12 Ohio State.
The Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic is one of the most elite regular-season dual-match tournaments in the country. Of the 16 teams in this year’s field, 14 carry national rankings, including four in the top 30 and 10 in the top 50.
#11 VCU 4, #44 Notre Dame 0
No. 1: Luis Haddock (ND) vs. #84 Pedro Nieto (VCU) 6-4, 3-2, abandoned
No. 2: Arnaud LeCloerec (VCU) d. Matthew Scott (ND) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Marton Ott (VCU) d. Brent D’Amico (ND) 6-0, 6-2
No. 4: Sergi Arumi (VCU) d. Stephen Bass (ND) 6-1, 6-2
No. 5: Florian Marquardt (VCU) vs. Barry King (ND) 6-4, 2-5, abandoned
No. 6: Francesc Lleal (VCU) vs. Ryan Keckley (ND) 6-4, 2-5, abandoned
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 4*
No. 1: Daniel Lohff/Marquardt (VCU) d. #44 D’Amico/Keckley (ND) 8-4
No. 2: #29 Haddock/Scott (ND) vs. Nieto/Ott (VCU) 7-6, abandoned
No. 3: Arumi/Lleal (VCU) d. S. Bass/Langenkamp (ND) 8-5
Order of Finish: 1, 3*
* denotes clinching match