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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Scott secures Irish victory in comeback

Matthew Scott's recently healed stress fracture in his right foot didn't hold him back Saturday, but instead the senior tri-captain's straight-set victory helped start men's tennis on the right foot with a win over No. 51 Indiana.

Scott's 6-3, 6-4 victory over Indiana's Ryan Recht at No. 2 singles led the 49th-ranked Irish to a 6-1 victory. Due to injury, it was the first time he had played a complete single's set since October. Scott is ranked 68th in the nation.

"The biggest thing in preparation for us was adjusting to the factor of the courts," Scott said of Indiana's fast playing surfaces. "We practiced Wednesday and Thursday at the South Bend Racquet Club to prepare, which was a key factor for us."

At No. 1 singles, senior tri-captain Luis Haddock lost 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 6-2 to Indiana's Jakub Praibis, ranked 70th last preseason before an injury caused him to miss much of the fall. Despite Haddock's one-set lead, Praibis rallied to score Indiana's only points.

Brent D'Amico defeated Indiana's Neil Kenner 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) at third singles, while fourth-spot Stephen Bass clinched the Irish singles victory by defeating Ryan McCarthy 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

At No. 5 singles, Barry King defeated Dmytro Ishtuganov 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 and Eric Langen-kamp rounded out the top six with a win over John Stone 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-2.

Notre Dame also took the doubles match, despite Indiana winning the No. 3 doubles spot early with Bass and Paul Hisaka losing to Ishtugatov and Kenner 8-4. The 18th-ranked duo of Haddock and Ryan Keckley clinched the point against Indiana's Recht and Stone 8-5 at No. 1, while at No. 2 doubles, D'Amico and Scott defeated McCarthy and Praibis 8-5.

"As a team, we're going to focus on doubles, which are the key to winning matches.," Scott aid. "[Additionally], each of us has to build on the victory against Indiana and do individual things we need to work on - to come together as a team and get another win."

Starting the season with a road win is important for the Irish as they enter the dual-match spring season.

"It's great to get the 'W' to start off the season, but we have a lot to work on," Scott said. "We'll build on this and look forward to Texas A&M on Friday [at home]."

"We've got a lot of potential: a deep lineup, strong freshman class, a lot of pride," Scott said. "The guys are really hungry to prove that we're a top-20 caliber team, and we're just out to prove that one match at a time - to do our best and have fun."