Jan. 22, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Fighting Irish men's tennis team earned a dramatic 4-3 win over William & Mary in their 2010 season opener. Notre Dame took a 3-0 lead but the Tribe battled back to make it 3-3 before sophomore Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) secured the win with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles. With the overall match and Fitzgerald's third set with Jamie Whiteford both tied at 3-3, Fitzgerald broke, held and broke serve for the win.
"Certainly some of our guys played with some jitters which you would expect in a first match and William & Mary came in here prepared having already played six matches so I think they were ready to go," said Irish head coach Bobby Bayliss.
"I feel like we had to pull out all the stops to win but hopefully being in such a tough match will make us better for the next match," Bayliss added.
Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) earned Notre Dame's first singles win as he made quick work of Adrian Vodislav at No. 5 singles 6-0, 6-1. With the win in his dual season debut, 74th-ranked Moros, gave the Irish a 2-0 lead as Notre Dame had already claimed the doubles point. Then, 93rd-ranked Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School) put the Irish up 3-0 with a straight sets win at No. 2 singles. After falling behind 3-2 in the first set, Havens downed Anton Andersson 6-3, 6-3.
William and Mary got on the board when 122nd-ranked Keziel Juneau defeated 18th-ranked Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) 6-4, 7-5. Then the Tribe cut the Irish lead to one when Sebastien Vidal beat 95th-ranked Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) 7-6 (3), 6-2. William and Mary tied the match at 3-3 when Richard Wardell beat freshman Michael Moore (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 6 singles; paving the way for Fitzgerald's clinching win.
The Irish earned the doubles point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. After falling behind 5-4, the tandem of Havens and Fitzgerald took down William and Mary's Vidal and Vodislav 8-5 for Notre Dame's first doubles point. At No. 3 doubles, freshman Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) and his classmate Moore fell to Andersson and Whiteford, 8-6, briefly tying the doubles match at one win apiece. But moments later Watt and junior captain Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) completed a center court comeback to give Notre Dame the doubles point. Watt and Davis had fallen behind the Tribe's pairing of Juneau and Ilja Orre, 6-5, but the Irish duo broke, held and then broke serve again to clinch the doubles point.
The Irish return to the courts on Sunday, Jan. 24 when they play host to a double header at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, which includes a showdown with No. 2 Virginia that begins at 9:00 a.m. and a 6:00 p.m. matinee versus IUPUI. The match versus Virginia will utilize a previously agreed upon scoring format in which five doubles matches will be contested to determine the doubles point and 10 singles matches will be played, making the match a race to secure six points in order win. Both of Sunday's matches will feature live scoring updates through und.com, where recaps will also be posted.
Notes: The Irish are now 15-8 in season openers under head coach Bobby Bayliss ... Casey Watt started at No. 1 singles for the first time in his Irish career ... Niall Fitzgerald's win marked the second match-clinching win of his career ... Notre Dame has now won nine of its last ten meetings with William & Mary.
Box Score William & Mary vs Notre Dame Jan 22, 2010 at Notre Dame, Ind.