Feb 18, 2013, 9:29 AM EDT
As junior Billy Pecor was playing the match point against No. 21 Michigan (and after over three and a half hours of play), the whole team stood on the adjacent court eagerly waiting for a victory. Pecor won the point, threw his racket up in the air, and the team rushed over to congratulate him.
That moment described the mood of the entire day. Playing a rival is tense, but when Notre Dame and Michigan meet, it’s something else.
“Our last three matches against [Michigan] have all come down to the last match on,” said senior Spencer Talmadge during the singles matches.
Make that the last four matches.
“Whenever it comes down to the last match on to decide it, it’s always really intense, but yesterday seemed even more so given that it was against our most hated rival,” said freshman Alex Lawson, Pecor’s doubles partner. “When he won and we all stormed the court, it was such a good feeling and I think you could really see how much we all wanted it. That’s what college tennis is all about.”
The day started with doubles. Pecor and Lawson were the first done, defeating the Wolverines’ Vlad Stefan and Michael Zhu. The pairs of Talmadge and Greg Andrews, and Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley finished in close losses to Evan King and Alex Petrone, and Shaun Bernstein and Barrett Franks, respectively.
The match was also long-time head coach Bobby Bayliss’s last against Michigan, as he will be retiring at the end of the season.
“It was great to give Coach Bayliss a win over them in his last year, too. We know that matchup means a lot to him,” said Lawson.
The Irish travel to Columbus, Ohio to play the Ohio State University next on Feb. 23.
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