Feb. 14, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich.- - The Irish men's tennis team defeated Michigan State by a score of 6-1 on Saturday afternoon en route to their fourth consecutive win. Notre Dame broke the Spartans' eight match winning streak to improve to 5-4 on the season.
Notre Dame won the doubles point behind victories at first and third doubles, and earned singles wins from Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West), Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian School), Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College).
At first doubles, Notre Dame's 37th-ranked tandem of Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan HS) rolled over Austin Brooks and John Stratton, 8-2, to get Notre Dame off to an early 1-0 lead in doubles play.
The Spartans then evened up the score with a win at second doubles, as John Allare and Jason Norville defeated Havens and Watt, 8-4.
Fitzgerald and Matt Johnson (Portage, Mich./Portage Central HS) once again paired up at third doubles. The tandem came through with the doubles-clinching win as they knocked off the Spartan duo of Clark Richardson and Alex Forger by the score of 8-4 to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead when 20th-ranked Helgeson took down Allare at first singles, 6-2, 6-2.
Watt then disposed of Scott Rasmussen in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. The win improves Watt's dual singles record to 6-3, including four straight wins at fourth singles.
At third singles, 108th-ranked Stahl clinched the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Brooks.
At sixth singles, Fitzgerald defeated Norville 6-3, 6-4.
With the Irish leading 5-0 overall, freshman Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) played at fifth singles versus Ronnie Hulewicz. Hulewicz proved victorious with a 7-5, 6-3 win. The loss marked Keeton's first of the season, snapping his personal six-match win streak to begin his Irish career.
Havens closed the match with a win at second singles versus Forger in the only three-set match of the day. Havens won the first set, 6-4, before dropping the second set, 7-5. In the third set tiebreaker, Havens earned the win, 10-5.
The victory pushes Notre Dame's record to 5-4 on the season and marks their fourth consecutive win since getting off to a 1-4 start. It is the first time the Irish have pushed above the .500 mark in the 2009 season.
The Irish are back in action on Thursday, February 19 when they return home to face Northwestern. The match will take place inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Doubles play is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
#25 Notre Dame 6, Michigan State 1