Texas A&M Avenges Painful Loss with 5-2 Victory over Notre Dame
by Colette Lewis
, 7 March 2011
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Two years ago the Texas A&M Aggies left Notre Dame's Eck Tennis Pavilion stung by a comeback that saw the Fighting Irish win the final four points. Last Friday, 18th-ranked Texas A&M took another 3-0 lead, but this time they refused to let 24th-ranked Notre Dame back in, taking a 5-2 decision from the home team.
Senior Austin Krajicek remembers the final match in 2009 only too well.
"That was a bad memory," Krajicek said of his match with Stephen Havens at No. 2 singles. "It came down to me. I was down 5-1 in the third and came back to 5-3, had a bunch of tight calls in that game and ended up losing. It was a tough match, not the best of memories."
This year, Krajicek earned the Aggies fourth point with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Casey Watt at No. 1 singles, putting an end to any Irish hope that history would repeat itself.
"They came out with a lot of energy, and we knew we would have to step up and play good," Krajicek said. "I think we started out really good in doubles, so that helped a lot."
Texas A&M got early breaks in two of the doubles contests, with Alexey Grigorov and Junior Ore up 3-1 over Havens and Tyler Davis at No. 2, and Alberto Bautista and Colin Hoover leading Notre Dame's Greg Andrews and Watt by the same score.
Notre Dame's Niall Fitzgerald and Spencer Talmadge earned a 4-2 lead over Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo at No. 1 doubles, giving the Irish hope, but the changes in momentum that are so frequent in doubles never came on the bottom two courts. Grigorov and Ore took advantage of Davis's serving woes to post an 8-3 win, and minutes later Bautista and Hoover followed with an 8-3 victory of their own. Fitzgerald and Talmadge led 6-4, but Dadamo and Krajicek reeled off the final four games to give the Aggies the sweep in doubles.
"We did not play very well in doubles," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Bayliss. "At one point we had won 11 of 12 doubles points, and given the schedule we're playing, that's pretty good. Give them credit. In the singles I thought we were beaten fair and square, but in the doubles I don't think we gave the effort that we've been doing all year."