March 25, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas – The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (13-6) dropped a 6-1 decision against fifth-ranked Texas (10-1) Saturday afternoon at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center. Sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) provided the lone victory for the Irish, winning a battle of top-35 players at No. 2 singles.
Texas swept the doubles matches and then got straight-set wins in singles at the bottom four positions to clinch their seventh consecutive victory. The Longhorns then added a three-set triumph at No. 1 for the final margin.
Parbhu, ranked 34th in the nation, got his team on the board with a 6-4, 6-1 victory against 30th-ranked Callum Beale of Australia at No. 2. Parbhu is 24-6 on the season, including 13-4 in dual play. He has an 8-1 record outdoors and now stands 8-3 vs. nationally-ranked competitors this season. Beale came through in a tight three-set decision at No. 1 in the final match on court to hand the Longhorns a 4-3 win over the Irish in 2005.
First off the court in singles was Milan Mihailovic from Serbia, who won 6-1, 6-2 against junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) at No. 4. It was Keckley’s first match since entering the national singles rankings for the first time in his career, at 115th, on Tuesday. The Serbian has won seven in a row and stands 17-6 on the season, including 8-2 in dual action.
At No. 3, it was 36th-ranked senior Roger Gubser prevailing 6-4, 6-3 against 106th-ranked freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) to put UT up 3-0. Gubser has won five in a row and is 19-6 on the season (9-2 dual).
The clinching victory came from freshman Michael Venus in the form of a 6-3, 6-4 win against Irish senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) at No. 6. Freshman Miguel Reyes Varela of Mexico then topped Notre Dame’s Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) 6-4, 6-4 at No. 5 to make the score 5-1. The Mexican – who joined the Longhorns in January – has a 9-3 record.
The No. 1 position featured a showdown of elite players, as 20th-ranked Travis Helgeson from Texas – Brett’s older brother – finally prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 over 14th-ranked Irish junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School). Helgeson is 20-7 on the season, including 7-3 in dual play at No. 1.
Texas dropped just nine total games en route to winning the doubles point for the 10th time in 11 matches this season, while Notre Dame has now dropped the point in five of its last seven opportunities. First off the court was the team of Hubert Chodkiewicz and Gubser, ranked 47th in the nation, which won 8-3 against Bass and King at No. 3. The UT duo has won five in a row and is 9-2 on the season.
Beale and Reyes Varela clinched the point with an 8-2 victory against Keckley and Parbhu at No. 1, and the 28th-ranked squad of Venus and Travis Helgeson won 8-4 at No. 2 against Langenkamp and sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) to complete the sweep. That Longhorn team also has won five straight and is 11-2 on the season.
Texas has now won 10 in a row against Notre Dame and leads the all-time series by a 10-2 count. It was the first ND-UT match since 1994 that did not end with a 4-3 Longhorns’ victory, as each of the previous six matchups had finished with the same result. The Irish are winless in five trips to Austin.
The Irish will return to action quickly, traveling east to College Station to take on #22 Texas A&M on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (CT). It is Notre Dame’s first-ever trip there to face the Aggies, though the Irish did take part in the 2002 NCAA Championships at that site.
Notre Dame has just two remaining home matches: Saturday, April 8 vs. Southern Methodist at 1 p.m. (ET) and Thursday, April 13 against BIG EAST rival #18 Louisville at 3:30 p.m. (ET).
#5 Texas 6, #15 Notre Dame 1SinglesNo. 1: #20 Travis Helgeson (T) def. #14 Stephen Bass (ND) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3No. 2: #34 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. #30 Callum Beale (T) 6-4, 6-1No. 3: #36 Roger Gubser (T) def. #106 Brett Helgeson (ND) 6-4, 6-3No. 4: Milan Mihailovic (T) def. #115 Ryan Keckley (ND) 6-1, 6-2No. 5: Miguel Reyes Varela (T) def. Barry King (ND) 6-4, 6-4No. 6: Michael Venus (T) def. Eric Langenkamp (ND) 6-3, 6-4Order of Finish: 4, 2, 3, 6*, 5, 1DoublesNo. 1: * Beale/Reyes Varela (T) def. Keckley/Parbhu (ND) 8-2No. 2: #28 T. Helgeson/Venus (T) def. Langenkamp/Andrew Roth (ND) 8-4No. 3: #47 Hubert Chodkiewicz/Gubser (T) def. Bass/King (ND) 8-3Order of Finish: 3, 1*, 2* - indicates clinching victory