May 12, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Trailing 1-0 in the match-deciding third set, Notre Dame men's sophomore Greg Andrews went to work, winning the final six points of the set to clinch a thrilling 4-3 Irish win over No. 40 Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday morning at Ohio State's Varsity Tennis Courts.
The No. 29 Irish (21-8) will now play the winner of No. 5 Ohio State and No. 68 East Tennessee State on Sunday, with the winner advancing to Athens, Ga., and the NCAA Round of 16. It is the second year in a row that Notre Dame will play in the Round of 32 in Columbus.
"I'm proud of the way the team came back to win after a disappointing doubles point," said head coach Bobby Bayliss. "We came out in singles and got up early and took care of business. I was really proud of Sam (Keeton) at three singles. We respect Offerdahl's game and Sam came out and played a great match. We are excited to still be in contention and we look forward to tomorrow's matchup."
After dropping the doubles point to the Commodores, the Irish took four of the six singles points to advance into the Round of 32. With the match tied at three, all eyes turned to the No. 2 spot in the lineup as No. 54 Andrews was heading to a third set with Vandy's Gonzales Austin, who is ranked No. 88. After Austin held serve to take a 1-0 lead, Andrews tied the score and then broke Austin's serve to take a 2-1 lead. From there the Richland, Mich., native won out, breaking Austin two more times to clinch the match for the Irish.
"The match of the day was definitely at two," said Bayliss. "Both played at a high level for much of the match. With the match on the line, we were glad we had Greg out there and he came through with a huge win."
Keeton turned in an impressive performance against Jeff Offerdahl, winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Fitzgerald (6-2, 6-2) and Moros (6-2, 6-3) also turned in strong performances, as each won handily in straight sets.
Vandy took a 2-0 lead after No. 44 Charlie Jones took out senior Casey Watt in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, before the Irish roared back to win four of the final five singles matches. The Commodores picked up their last victory at No. 4 singles as Blake Bazarnik defeated Billy Pecor in a tight match, 7-5, 7-5.
The Irish lost the doubles point after the Commodores won at one and two doubles. Alex DiValerio and Gonzales Austin took down the No. 55 team of Niall Fitzgerald and Casey Watt, 8-3, before Charlie Jones and Blake Bazarnik slipped by Greg Andrews and Spencer Talmadge, 8-6. The No. 3 doubles contest between Joe Dorn and Jeff Offerdahl and Sam Keeton and Billy Pecor went unfinished with the Vandy duo holding a narrow 6-5 advantage.
No. 1 Singles
No. 44 Charlie Jones (VU) d. Casey Watt (ND), 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 Singles
Greg Andrews (ND) d. No. 88 Gonzales Austin (VU), 7-5, 4-6, 6-1
Sam Keeton (ND) d. Jeff Offerdahl (VU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 Singles
Blake Bazarnik (VU) d. Billy Pecor (ND), 7-5, 7-5
No. 5 Singles
Niall Fitzgerald (ND) d. Joe Dorn (VU), 6-2, 6-2
No. 6 Singles
Blas Moros (ND) d. Alex DiValerio (VU), 6-2, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 5, 3, 4, 2
Order of Finish: 1, 2