The No. 39 University of Wisconsin tennis team defeated No. 25 Notre Dame 4-3 in a truly spectacular match Sunday afternoon at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.The win ends an 18 match losing streak to the Irish, dating back to April 23, 1999 since the last Badger win. The upset wraps up non-conference play nicely, as the team improves to 9-2.
"This is one of the most exciting wins for our program," said head coach Greg Van Emburgh. "Notre Dame is consistently a top 20 team and to break an 18 match losing streak against them is a great accomplishment for this team. Freshman Patrick Pohlmann had all the pressure on him and he displayed unbelievable composure and a desire to win. I couldn't be more proud of him and the competitive spirit of this talented team. They deserved this win and it should give us great momentum heading into the Big Ten season."
The match started off all Irish, as Notre Dame swept the Badgers in doubles to win the doubles point. First to finish was at the No. 2 spot, where sophomore Luke Rassow-Kantor and freshman Patrick Pohlmann were defeated by Casey Watt and Stephen Havens. The match, like the other doubles matches, was very close, but the Badger pair just couldnt do pull out the win, as they fell 8-5.
The doubles point was clinched when the junior pair of Michael Dierberger and Michael Muskievicz was defeated by Niall Fitzgerald and Matt Johnson at the No. 3 position. Both teams played hard, with the match coming down to a tie break, but Notre Dame pulled out the 9-8 (9-7) win.
The sweep came when the No. 36-ranked Badger duo of junior Moritz Baumann and sophomore Marek Michalicka lost to the No. 13-ranked team of Brett Helgeson and Tyler Davis, 8-6. Baumann and Michalickas unbeaten streak ends at eight matches, as the pair was handed their first doubles loss this season.
With the Badgers already down 1-0 after doubles, it was going to be tough for the team to come back. But the Badgers tied the match when No. 36 Baumann defeated Havens at the No. 2 spot. The doubles loss didnt seem to bother him too much, as Baumann won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. With the win, Baumann remains undefeated in singles as his record improves to 11-0.
The tie was short-lived however, as Notre dame regained the lead when Rassow-Kantor was defeated by Watt at the No. 4 spot. After losing the first set 6-2, Rassow-Kantor came out stronger in the second but it wouldnt be enough, as he lost 6-4. The loss drops him to 4-6 on the season.
With the score now 2-1 in favor of Notre Dame, Muskievicz was next to finish, as he fell to David Anderson at the No. 5 slot. The doubles loss really seemed to get to Muskievicz, as he lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. With the loss, Muskievicz moves to 3-4 in singles this season. The loss also gave Notre Dame a 3-1 lead.
Almost immediately after the conclusion of that match, the Badgers got a point back when No. 60 Michalicka defeated No. 18 Helgeson at the No. 1 position. Michalicka came out strong right from the start, and absolutely dominated Helgeson for the majority of the match. After winning the first set 6-1, Michalicka didnt let Helgeson climb back in as he took the second 6-4. The win improves Michalicka to 5-4 so far.
With the Badgers now down 3-2, the match was really getting interesting. The Badgers tied it up when sophomore Peter Marrack came in and defeated Sam Keeton at the No. 6 spot. After winning the first set 7-5, Marrack looked as though he would drop the second. Down 4-3, Marrack came back and won the next three games to win the set 6-4, and the match. With the win, Marrack moves to 9-2 so far this season.
With the score now tied 3-3, the stage was set for an incredible finish as all eyes turned to the match at the No. 3 position, where Pohlmann was taking on No. 122 Daniel Stahl. After losing the first set 6-3, Pohlmann came back strong in the second and won 6-2 to force a third set. The entire match came down to the final set, which went into a tiebreak after Pohlmann came back to tie the set at 6-6. Pohlmann took that momentum back out on the court, and defeated Stahl 7-6 (7-5) to give the Badgers a 4-3 upset over No. 25 Notre Dame.
The Badgers will hit the road next, as they travel to Champaign on Saturday, March 7 to open Big Ten play against Illinois. The team will then go to Bloomington to take on Indiana on Sunday, March 8.