The men’s tennis team’s Cinderella run through the Big East Championship came to a screeching halt Sunday against the No. 1 seed Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
The men started off the championship quest the right way by dominating West Virginia in a 4-0 decision in the first round on Friday. Then, they advanced to the championship game after upsetting No. 2 Virginia Tech Saturday 4-3. On that day, the men were down 3-2 before Thomas Smid and Jose Lieberman both rallied to win their singles matches in three sets.
“It was a great college tennis match against Virginia Tech, but the downside is that we really did have some tough matches and it is really hot out here. When you win 7-6 in the third in two matches, the guys are going to be a little tired,” said head coach Jay Berger
However, on Sunday, the men were just outmatched by the Fighting Irish men, who took the match 4-1. However, this loss does not take away from the nice run that the ‘Canes made in the Big East championship, which earned them runner-up honors.
“Notre Dame didn’t give us any matches. They are probably just a little bit better than us and we needed a lot of good things to happen for us to win. None of their guys didn’t play well today,” Berger.
The team’s lone victory came when Todd Widom defeated Notre Dame ace Javier Taborga. Widom, who had lost in the Virginia Tech match, came out with something to prove.
“I played my worst match of the year the day before and I wanted to come out here and prove I was still playing good,” said Widom.
The victory over Taborga did give Widom the MVP award for the tournament. Todd had a great record all season, and his win against the very tough Taborga solidified his MVP award.
“It was a great win that he beat Taborga today. Todd is a very important part of our team, he plays the top competition and in most cases, takes out the top player,” said Berger.
The bright point was that this team gained some confidence with their Virginia Tech victory, and they now believe that they can compete against good teams.
“We gained a lot of confidence from winning the Virginia Tech match. We believe more and more in each other and we think we can come out and beat good teams now,” said Widom.
The ‘Canes loss was not due to a lack of effort. Miami played hard throughout this tournament and they never gave up, even when they were down against Tech and Notre Dame.
“We fought extremely hard in all the matches, especially today and yesterday and our players definitely showed some heart out there,” said Berger.
The good news is that the impressive showing of the ‘Canes should get them into the NCAA Regional Tournament and the confidence that they gained by beating V.T. could help them go far.