June 8, 2004
The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team improved 16 positions from its preseason listing to be 33rd in the final set of Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings, released earlier this week. Senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.), who had been ranked as high as 57th, ended up 74th in the national singles rankings. The Irish were third in the final Midwest Region listing, continuing a streak of 15 consecutive seasons among the top five teams in the region. Notre Dame, ranked 49th in the preseason after finishing 2003 at 54th, finished the season 15-9 after peaking at 26th in the national rankings in late March. The third-seeded Irish knocked off arch-rival and host Miami 4-1 in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship before downing top-seeded Virginia Tech 4-2 to win their fourth league title. Notre Dame made its 13th NCAA tournament appearance in 14 seasons, falling to #19 Tulane in the opening round. The Irish were listed in the end-of-season national rankings for the 15th consecutive season. Notre Dame finished 8-2 against Midwest Region teams, and the final regional rankings listed only the two squads to defeat the Irish ahead of them: Illinois (2nd in the national rankings) and Ohio State (12th). Against the Buckeyes in February in the Eck Tennis Pavilion, Notre Dame – playing without Haddock’s services in singles – nearly pulled off the upset, but OSU won a trio of three-setters to rally for a 4-3 triumph. Three Irish singles players and one doubles team were listed in the individual regional rankings. Haddock, who was 22nd as a freshman and 10th last year, finished sixth, while fellow senior tri-captain Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris) was 17th and junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) was tied for 28th. It was Scott’s third consecutive year among the region’s top 25 players (21st in 2002, 19th in ’03), while D’Amico was 26th a season ago. The seniors were eighth in the doubles rankings, marking the second time on the list for both of them (Haddock was 10th in 2001, Scott was 11th in ’03). Haddock concluded his final campaign with a 20-13 record, including four victories over top-60 players, highlighted by wins against #13 Romain Ambert of Mississippi and #19 Mat Cloer of Florida State. He was 12-7 in dual matches, playing No. 1 in every contest but one. Haddock earned his first berth to the NCAA Singles Championship at the end of the season and was tabbed the team’s co-MVP, while he also garnered the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the highest distinction bestowed upon Irish student-athletes, for being most exemplary as both a student and a leader. For his career, Haddock was 91-43 (.679) in singles, including a 21-18 record at No. 1 that ranked him behind only David DiLucia (’92), Ryan Sachire (’00), and Andy Zurcher (’94) in victories at that position among Irish players under head coach Bob Bayliss. Haddock was just the fifth player under Bayliss to win at least 90 singles matches and 70 doubles contests during his career. His singles victories are the ninth-highest sum in the Bayliss era. Against the Midwest Region, Haddock was 7-4, including reaching the round of 16 of the ITA Midwest Championships for fourth time in his career. He also finished third in the A flight of the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Scott, who was ranked as high as 68th nationally in singles this year after peaking at 51st as a sophomore, finished 19-14 with three victories over ranked opponents. He was 8-6 at No. 2, while he also played five matches at No. 1. Scott opened the season 10-3, notching wins over #18 Richard Barker of Rice, #58 Dustin Taylor of Tulsa, and #53 Fabrizio Sestini of TCU in September 2003. He won the consolation title in flight A for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Rice and then reached the final of the adidas Invitational before falling to Duke’s Ludovic Walter (31st in final rankings). Scott also reached the round of 16 of the ITA Midwest Championships and finished with an 8-4 record against the region. He ended his career with an 83-40 (.675) record and stands as the only player in the league to have earned BIG EAST all-tournament honors in both singles and doubles in both of the first two years of the distinctions. In dual match action, he was 54-23 (.701). D’Amico, the team MVP in 2002-03, recovered from summer elbow surgery that caused him to miss most of the fall (did not play singles at all) to play Nos. 2-4 in the Irish singles lineup. He finished 10-11, including 6-4 at No. 3. After struggling to find a rhythm early, the junior won six of eight matches (the lone losses coming at No. 2 against #1 Illinois and conference rival Miami) over a three-week span in February and March. D’Amico, who was ranked 99th in the preseason national rankings, finished 6-3 against regional opponents and 3-1 in three-set affairs, including key wins in helping the Irish to victories against Indiana and Northwestern. Haddock and Scott, who had played together for just seven matches over their first three collegiate seasons, combined for a 13-3 mark in 2003-04, eventually ascending to the top of the Notre Dame doubles lineup. The duo played together sparingly in fall action but then became a permanent team on Feb. 15. The seniors stood 10-1 in mid-March and finished 10-3 in dual-match action (9-2 at No. 2). Haddock and Scott jumped into the national rankings at 29th in March after an upset of the 19th-ranked pair of Scott Green and Ross Wilson of Ohio State. They moved to No. 1 at the start of April and had all three of their postseason matches abandoned. The duo was 8-1 against Midwest Region foes, falling only in an 8-6 decision against Northwestern. During their careers, Haddock and Scott were 18-5 as a team. The Puerto Rican finished with a 70-41 doubles mark, while the Canadian was 46-25, including 29-16 in dual action. The Irish lose a trio of key players to graduation, but will return six monogram winners – including five starters – for the 2004-05 campaign.