April 21, 2006
TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and 16th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (16-7) won 4-0 against eighth-seeded Georgetown (6-11) Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. The Irish – who are seeking their third straight league title and have now won nine straight matches in the tournament – will take on the event host, fifth-seeded South Florida (4-13), on Saturday at Noon (ET) in the semifinals. The other semi features second-seeded and 31st-ranked Louisville (16-7) against Marquette (14-8).
The Irish won at the top two spots to take the doubles point and then dominated in singles, dropping just 10 total games and earning three quick victories – all of which saw the Hoyas win just two games or fewer – to prevail in just their second quarterfinal match since 2000 (due to fluctuations in the size of the tournament’s field). Notre Dame was well in control of the other three matches, each of which saw the Irish within three games of victory.
Finishing first in doubles was the team of junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.), which won 8-4 over Etienne Paris and Ted Tywang at No. 2. The Irish duo is unbeaten in three matches as a team this season. Both players edged above .500 on the season in partnered play: Parbhu at 14-13 and King at 10-9.
Senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), the 25th-ranked team in college tennis, clinched the doubles point for the second straight match, this time with a 9-7 victory against Eric Conrad and Kevin Walsh at No. 1. The ND squad is now 5-3 on the season, while Langenkamp earned his team-best 16th victory of the season (compared to 10 defeats). Keckley moved up to 13-12.
After doing so in the regular-season finale against Louisville, Notre Dame has now won the doubles point in back-to-back matches for the first time since Feb. 12 and 15 against Bradley and Michigan State, respectively. Sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) had match points at No. 3 against Andy Clayton and Ken Wong, but eventually had their match abandoned at 7-3.
In singles, first off the court was Parbhu, who won 6-2, 6-0 against Conrad at No. 2 for his sixth consecutive victory. He leads the team in singles victories this season, with a 28-6 overall mark, including 17-4 in dual-match play. Parbhu, ranked 35th in the nation, is now 11-1 outdoors in 2005-06. It was the 60th career singles win (compared to only 13 defeats) for him, pushing his career winning percentage to .822.
Next off the court was Keckley, who beat Bert Baggio 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4 to end a season-high two-match losing streak. He shares the team lead in singles wins in dual action with Parbhu, sporting a 17-4 record this spring. Keckley, now19-5 overall this season, earned the 40th singles win of his career. He has lost just 17 times for a .702 winning percentage.
Clinching the match for the second straight contest and fifth time this season was junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), who won 6-1, 6-0 against Etienne Paris at No. 1. Bass – the highest-ranked BIG EAST singles player, at 18th nationally – stands 27-9 on the season, including 14-8 in dual play.
Helgeson was ahead 6-2, 3-0 against Tywang at No. 3 when his match was abandoned, while King led Kevni Killeavy 6-0, 3-2 at No. 5. At the bottom spot, Langenkamp had a 6-0, 3-1 advantage against Wong.
Notre Dame improved to 39-9 (.813) all-time against fellow conference foes, including 22-4 in the BIG EAST Championship. All nine defeats came against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow BIG EAST member from 1996-2004.
The Irish have reached the title match of the BIG EAST tournament every year since becoming a league member in 1995-96 and have won five championships (1996, ’99, 2002, ’04, and ’05) and saw the ’03 final rained out with no winner declared. Their last defeat came in the 2001 title match. ND is now 17-0 in matches leading up to the final, with 14 of those coming as shutouts.
Notre Dame has now won six consecutive matches against BIG EAST competition, dating back to the 2003-04 campaign. The Irish hold a 93-2 (.979) all-time record against the current members of the BIG EAST.
It was the first meeting between Notre Dame and Georgetown since 2000. The Irish now lead the all-time series by a 6-1 count, but the Hoyas are one of only two current BIG EAST teams (along with Louisville) that have ever posted a victory over Notre Dame. That was a 5-4 decision in Washington, D.C., in the 1962 Cherry Blossom Tournament. Irish head coach Bob Bayliss improved to 18-0 in his career against Georgetown, including 3-0 while coaching Notre Dame. The rest of his victories came during his days at the United States Naval Academy and MIT. No team has faced Bayliss more times without earning a victory.
Notre Dame and USF will play in men’s tennis for just the second time ever. The Irish won 5-2 in Tampa in 1982 in the previous matchup. The Bulls upset fourth-seeded St. John’s in a 4-3 match on Friday.
[No. 1 seed] #16 Notre Dame 4, [No. 8 seed] Georgetown 0SinglesNo. 1: * #18 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Etienne Paris (G) 6-1, 6-0No. 2: #35 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Eric Conrad (G) 6-2, 6-0No. 3: Brett Helgeson (ND) led Ted Tywang (G) 6-2, 3-0, abandonedNo. 4: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Bert Baggio (G) 6-1, 6-1No. 5: Barry King (ND) led Kevni Killeavy (G) 6-0, 3-2, abandonedNo. 6: Eric Langenkamp (ND) led Ken Wong (G) 6-0, 3-1, abandonedOrder of Finish: 2, 4, 1*DoublesNo. 1: * #25 Keckley/Langenkamp (ND) def. Conrad/Kevin Walsh (G) 9-7No. 2: King/Parbhu (ND) def. Paris/Tywang (G) 8-4No. 3: Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) led Andy Clayton/Wong (G) 7-3, abandonedOrder of Finish: 2, 1** - indicates clinching victory