The UW mens tennis teams fantastic season, one of the best in the programs history, came to an end on Friday afternoon. The No. 38 Badgers, who yesterday advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament for their first time ever, were swept, 4-0, by No. 5 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Notching the win was no easy task for the Fighting Irish (26-3), as every single match was as tight as could be.
I thought at most positions we were even or better, head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. It was just whose direction it was going to fall.
The loss concluded Wisconsins year at 16-11. In just his second year with the team, Van Emburgh led the Badgers to a fourth place standing in the Big Ten, their highest finish since 1994. Other notable events on the year include UWs early-season upset of Miami (Fla), ranked No. 10 at the time, and Moritz Baumann becoming just the second UW freshman ever to be named to the All-Big Ten team.
Wisconsins great season culminated yesterday, when the team eliminated No. 32 Washington from the first round of the NCAA tournament, advancing past the tourneys first round for the first time in the programs history. UWs good fortune, however, would end there, as Notre Dame was able to get the best of the Badgers on Friday.
The Badgers were able to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three competition for the doubles point. Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) picked up UWs only win of the day with an 8-6 defeat of Brett Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu at No. 2 doubles.
Wisconsin was unable to pick up another win to secure the matchs first point. Michael Muskievicz (Homewood, Ill.) and Jeremy Sonkin dropped a close, 8-6 match at the No. 3 spot to Barry King and Andrew Roth.
Notre Dame then claimed the doubles point when its top duo, No. 28 Ryan Keckley and Stephen Bass, recorded a win over Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) and Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria).
We knew going in that it [the doubles point] was going to be important, Van Emburgh said. We wanted to be in a position to win the doubles. We won the doubles last time [we played Notre Dame] and we thought that would give us a great opportunity to win the match. Even though we lost the doubles today I thought we still had a shot at winning today.
In singles play, the Badgers continued to come up with close matches that they werent quite able to finish out.
At the No. 1 position, No. 108 Moritz Baumann put forth a fantastic effort against No. 8 Stephen Bass. While the freshman played the talented Bass as well as he could, Baumann ended up falling, 6-3, 6-4, to the Notre Dame senior.
Michael Dierberger was next to finish. Dierberger, also a freshman, faced Andrew Roth at the No. 6 slot. Roth was able to sneak by with a 7-6, 6-4 win.
Down 3-0 in the contest with four close matches being played, UW had to win all four to record the win. It wasnt meant to be, as Nolan Polley dropped the No. 3 spot to Brett Helgeson, 7-5, 6-4.
The final three matches between Wisconsin and Notre Dame were abandoned.
Notre Dame will now move on to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament, where they will face the winner of todays match between No. 12 USC and No. 20 Pepperdine. The last four rounds of the tournament will all be played at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., with competition starting on Thursday, May 17.