In a match that was much closer than the final score would suggest, the Wisconsin mens tennis team fell short against No. 9 Notre Dame, 5-2, in Madison at Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Fresh off of last weekends huge win over No. 10 Miami, the Badgers (4-1) could not quite pull off their second straight upset, and the Fighting Irish (6-1) handed UW their first loss of the season.
We came out ready to play and had a chance to take the match against Notre Dame, one of the top teams in the nation, coach Greg Van Emburgh said. Notre Dame stepped up and played well at their key spots.
Notre Dame coach Bob Bayliss was in awe at UWs talented roster.
I give a lot of credit to Wisconsin, Bayliss said. Its hard to believe how improved they are from past years. We were extremely lucky to get out of here with a win.
Wisconsin began the match on top.
Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) beat the No. 11 pair of Ryan Keckley and Sheeva Parbhu at No. 1 doubles, 8-6, and Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) and Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria) defeated Barry King and Brett Helgeson, 8-5, at No. 2 to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead in the overall match score.
Nolan Polley and Moritz Baumann pulled out a very impressive win at the top doubles spot, Van Emburgh said. Those doubles matches definitely acted as a wake up call for Notre Dame.
Practically every singles match was a toss up between Wisconsin and Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish ended up taking five of the six contests.
Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) notched the Badgers lone singles win, coming back from a first set loss to defeat Andrew Roth, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Moritz Baumann and opponent Brett Helgeson were neck and neck all match, but Helgeson eventually won, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Michael Dierberger also fell just short of evening his match in the second set, losing to Barry King, 6-3, 7-5.
Nolan Polley and Lachezar Kasarov were both unable to close out their matches after first set wins, as each of their opponents came back to prevail in three sets. Down 1-0 in the second set after giving up the first, Jeremy Sonkin was forced to retire against No. 14 Steven Bass due to a back injury.
Wisconsin will continue to face elite competition as they host three matches in the upcoming week. No. 54 Western Michigan will visit Nielsen Tennis Stadium for a showdown at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16. The Badgers open Big Ten play when No. 50 Penn State comes in for a match on Sunday, Feb. 18 at noon. Following play against the Nittany Lions, UW will welcome UW-Green Bay at 5:30 p.m.