Widom’s return lifts ‘Canes to easy victory

‘Canes prevail 6-1 over Notre Dame’
Playing in their first match in nine days, the Hurricane men’s tennis team defeated No. 53 Notre Dame in three hours at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon.
Todd Widom returned after missing three weeks of the season with an illness to lead the ‘Canes to a 6-1 victory over the Irish. He recorded the first singles win against Luis Haddock, winning 6-1, 6-3.
Although the score shows a large margin of victory, there was still plenty of intensity between the players on the main court.
“At any position [in the match] you want to keep your intensity up,” Widom said. “When you win the first set pretty easy, the guy is definitely going to come out firing.”
This was the first match for No. 14 Widom since March 13. And head coach Bryan Getz said he noticed difference at the Schiff Tennis Center upon Widom’s return.
“We know most likely that we are going to get a win at that No.1 position with Todd playing,” Getz said. “It just makes our team that much stronger which makes everyone a little more confident.”
The day began with Miami winning two of three doubles matches to secure the first point. Colin Purcell and Andrew Golub defeated Notre Dame’s duo of Brent D’Amico and Mathew Scott 8-3. Widom and Eric Hechtman also provided an 8-6 victory over the pair of Haddock and Brian Farrell.
The ‘Canes built on the momentum from early in the match to take five of six singles points from Notre Dame. Shortly after Widom’s win, John Hoyes topped Eric Langenkamp 6-1, 6-2. Hoyes had been banged up as of late with nagging knee and wrist injuries.
“My attitude towards the match was to just to stay on top; just to play solid,” Hoyes said. “I knew he didn’t have any great weapons to hurt me with so my plan was to just serve well, keep him on the backcourt, and keep attacking.”
Colin Purcell was the next winner for the ‘Canes. He posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Nicolas Lopez-Acevedo. Meanwhile, in an adjacent court, Eric Hechtman was beating Farrell in the second set when the Notre Dame player went down with a sprained ankle and never returned – giving the Cane’s another win.
The final match of the day concluded with Luis Manrique winning in a tiebreaker over D’Amico. Since Miami had already clinched the win, the two played the tiebreaker to 10 points after they split the first two sets. The official score was 2-6, 6-2, 1-0. Manrique won the tiebreaker with a score of 10-8.
The only Notre Dame singles win of the day went to Scott, who defeated Golub 6-4, 6-2.
Notre Dame Head Coach Bob Bayliss noted that he sees a marked improvement among the Hurricane players late in the season.
“This was an old-fashioned butt kicking,” he said. “They just beat us, plain and simple. I was surprised how easy they handled us in light of the fact that we beat Virginia Tech last week 5-2 and Virginia Tech won down here. They have really improved over the last few weeks.”
The win improves the No. 25 Hurricane’s record to 12-5. Before the Big East Championships, Miami has two regular season matches remaining against South Florida and Getz’s alma mater, Duke University.
The Hurricane’s success has prompted many, including Notre Dame’s Bayliss, to look at them as the top team heading into the Big East Championships.
“I think they’re an odds-end favorite and I wouldn’t bet against them,” Bayliss said.

Ben Wolf can be reached at b.wolf@umiami.edu