May 14, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - For the second time this season, the Notre Dame men's tennis team staged a come from behind effort against 27th-ranked Wisconsin but this time the Irish were edged by the Badgers, 4-2, in NCAA championship first round action at Illinois' Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. With the win, Wisconsin advances to the second round to face the winner of this afternoon's Illinois-Xavier match.
After appearing in the NCAA Championship field for the 19th time in the past 20 seasons, the Irish end their year with a 15-13 record. Wisconsin improves to 20-7 on the year.
Wisconsin jumped out to a 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. At No. 1, the 15th-ranked Badger team of Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka downed 59th-ranked Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hills Christian) 8-4. Moments later, the Irish tandem of David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) finished off Ricardo Martin and Chris Freeman to tie doubles play at 1-1. Stahl and Anderson pulled ahead for a 3-2 lead in their match and never looked back. Then at No. 2 doubles, Patrick Pohlmann and Michael Dierberger defeated Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan), 8-4, to stake the Badgers to a 1-0 lead in the overall match.
Wisconsin went ahead 2-0 when 24th-ranked Baumann downed 53rd-ranked Watt in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. After dropping the first set, Watt battled to tie the second set at 3-3 but Bauman won the final three games to earn his 15th win of the dual season. Bauman, a senior, and Watt, a sophomore, met three times during the 2009-10 season, with Baumann earning two victories, but Watt win came when Bauman was ranked seventh overall.
Freshman Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) got the Irish on the board with a win over Michael Dierberger at No. 6 singles. Moros took an early 3-1 lead in the first set and held on for a 6-4 win. Then, in the second set, Dierberger got out to a 4-1 lead but Moros won the next five games to cut the Badger lead to 2-1. It was Moros' 15th win of the dual season.
Wisconsin's Patrick Pohlmann then downed 103rd-ranked Stahl in a tough three set match at No. 3 singles 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With the win, the Badger lead moved to 3-1, with three remaining matches all entering third set play. Sophomore Samuel Keeton's (Kansas City, Mo./The Pembroke Hill School) win at No. 4 singles kept the Irish comeback hopes alive as he was able to defeat Chris Freeman 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The win was Keeton's team leading 17th of the dual season.
But then Billy Bertha clinched the win for the Badgers when he downed Anderson at No. 5 singles 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. With the overall match decided, Havens' match at No. 2 singles was halted at five all in the third set. After dropping the first set 6-4, Havens rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the second set to win 7-6 (7-1) in order to force a third set.
The winner of the second-round matches at each of the 16 first and second round sites will advance to Athens, Ga., for the final four rounds of the team tournament as well as the national championship draws for singles and doubles play from May 20-31. Though the Irish will not be advancing to Georgia, Watt will make his first career appearance in the NCAA singles championship draw.
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin May 14, 2010 at Urbana, Ill. (Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex)
#27 Wisconsin 4, #39 Notre Dame 2