May 12, 2012
Ian Duvenhage predicted the match may come down to number two singles between Gonzales Austin and Greg Andrews.
"(Andrews) is by far their most successful player, so AJ (Austin) will have his hands full." Duvenhage said. "But I think if AJ plays well, he's going to give us a chance there and if he can win on that, I'd bet on us to win the match."
He was right on the money, as the match went three sets and broke a 3-3 tie to give Notre Dame a 4-3 win over the Commodores at Ohio State's Varsity Tennis Courts. The Irish advance to face the winner of Ohio State-East Tennessee State in tomorrow's second round.
Things started off well for Vanderbilt, as the Commodores won the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead.
The first win in doubles came from the Vandy pair of Alex DiValerio and Austin, who picked up an 8-3 victory over the 55th-ranked Irish pair of Niall Fitzgerald and Casey Watt.
Vanderbilt's lead then increased to 2-0 when Charlie Jones scored a decisive, 6-1, 6-3, win over Watt at number one singles.
Then the Irish came charging hard, taking three singles matches within a matter of minutes.
DiValerio dropeed a 6-2, 6-3 decision to Notre Dame's Blas Moros at six singles for the first Irish point of the match.
That was followed close by Fitzgerald taking a 6-2, 6-2 win over Dorn at number five to even the match, 2-2.
Notre Dame's Sam Keeton gave the Irish a 3-2 lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Offerdahl at the third slot.
Vanderbilt then took a tight 7-5, 7-5 decision at number four singles, when Bazarnik defeated Billy Pecor.
That meant, as Duvenhage predicted, it came down to number two singles.
Andrews took the first set, 7-5, before Austin rallied and won the second, 6-4. Andrews was then able to take a 6-1 victory in the third to clinch the 4-3 win for the Irish.
Austin was injured at some point during the match and Duvenhage was proud of the way he continued on, knowing it was the key match.
"It came down to AJ and he strained a hip flexor somewhere in there and was really struggling in the third," Duvenhage said.
The lengthy match, which was all too common for Vanderbilt this season, took three hours, 35 minutes to play.
"That was our eighth 4-3 loss this year and I just know we'll reap the benefits of having played matches like that next year," Duvenhage concluded.