Dec. 15, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three Notre Dame singles players and a pair of Irish doubles teams are listed in the men’s tennis midwest region rankings, announced recently by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Notre Dame’s senior tri-captains, Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) and Matthew Scott (Oakton, Va./International School of Paris), both earned rankings in singles and doubles, with Haddock and freshman Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) leading the way at second in doubles. Preseason team and the next set of individual national rankings will be released on Jan. 13.
Haddock was the highest-ranked Irish player in singles, at 10th, while Scott was 12th and freshman Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) came in 23rd. In doubles, Scott and junior tri-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) followed Haddock/Keckley at 12th.
Haddock and Keckley combined for a 6-3 record this fall. The Irish pair won five matches in posting a runner-up finish in the ITA Midwest Championships after having played just three previous contests together. In the title match, they fell to Illinois’ Mike Calkins and Chris Martin, the only doubles team listed ahead of Haddock and Keckley in the regional rankings. The other losses for the Irish pair came at No. 2 in an exhibition match vs. USC and to Bryan Fisher and Jason Hazley of LSU, the nation’s No. 7 team, on the first day of the fall season, Sept. 12. Haddock and Keckley are the highest-ranked Irish team in the regional rankings since Casey Smith and Javier Taborga were second at the end of the 2001-02 season.
Haddock, 64th in the preseason national rankings, was 8-5 in singles this fall. He took third place in the A flight of the Rice Crowne Plaza Invitational, reached the quarterfinals of the adidas Invitational and advanced to the final 16 in the Midwest Championships for the fourth consecutive season. Of Haddock’s losses, two came in three sets and one was in a match tiebreaker. In his career, he stands 79-35 (.693). His win total ranks 12th among players in the Bob Bayliss era (1988-present).
Scott was 10-4 this fall, notching three victories over ranked foes after having just two in his first three seasons of collegiate competition. Three of his losses were to ranked players and each of those were either in third sets or match tiebreakers. Scott was the consolation champion in the A flight of the Crowne Plaza Invitational before posting a runner-up finish in the adidas Invitational and reaching the round of 16 in the regional tournament. He opened the season 6-1, with three wins over top-65 opponents, highlighted by a 6-2, 6-3 victory against #18 Richard Barker of Rice. Scott lost in three sets to #87 Johan Berg in Notre Dame’s exhibition loss to USC. His other losses came against #21 William Barker of Rice, #38 Ludovic Walter of Duke, and Avery Ticer of Minnesota. Scott’s career singles record stands at 74-30 (.712).
Scott and D’Amico, ranked 50th in the preseason national rankings, were 2-2 this fall. D’Amico missed the first half of the semester recovering from elbow surgery and did not play singles at all. The pair lost at No. 1 against USC before winning a pair of matches in the Midwest Championships to reach the round of 16 prior to losing. Scott and D’Amico played No. 1 throughout all of last season, going 12-9 with a team-high five clinching victories.
Bass was 6-2 in his first collegiate fall. His lone losses came to Joseph Jung of Alabama in the Tom Fallon Invitational and to Dennis Mertens of Ohio State in the opening round of the midwest tournament. Bass started the season with a championship in the B flight of the Crowne Plaza Invitational and also posted a three-set victory over Ruben Torres at No. 3 in an exhibition match vs. USC. He is the fourth-highest ranked freshman in the midwest region behind Ohio State’s Joey Atas (14th), Northwestern’s Christian Tempke (20th), and Michigan’s Brian Hung (21st). Bass came to Notre Dame as the fifth-ranked 18-and-under player entering college this fall after a runner-up result in the 2003 Super National Clay Court Championships.
Ohio State’s Jeremy Wurtzman was the top-ranked singles player in the region, followed by a quartet from Illinois: Calkins, Martin, Pramod Dabir, and Ryler DeHeart. In doubles, David Hippee and Alex Kasarov of Wisconsin were third, followed by Scott Green and Ross Wilson of Ohio State and the team of Ticer and Clay Estes from Minnesota. Notre Dame will play Wisconsin (Feb. 15) andf Ohio State (Feb. 28) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion this spring and will travel to defending national champion Illinois (Feb. 26).
Duke (Feb. 1, away) and Texas A&M (Jan. 23, home) also feature regional No. 1s and will play Notre Dame this spring. Blue Devil Walter is the top-ranked singles player in the mideast region and also is first in doubles, along with Jason Zimmermann. The Aggie pair of Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic is ranked No. 2 nationally and first in the south central region.
The ITA releases singles and doubles rankings for each of the eight regions twice a year — in December and at the end of the season. The rankings are used mostly for seeding in the fall regional indoor tournaments and in determining entry for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
Notre Dame will begin its spring season Jan. 17 at Indiana before opening at home on Jan. 23 vs. Texas A&M at 4 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. It will be the Aggies’ first-ever trip to Notre Dame.