March 11, 2005
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 18th-ranked and second-seeded University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (12-4) came up just short in a marathon match against #55 Boise State (15-5) Friday afternoon, falling 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic at the Lagoon Park Tennis Complex. The match, played in winds greater than 20 miles per hour, lasted more than four hours and featured five three-set contests in singles, with senior Ikaika Jobe of Boise State finally topping Irish rookie Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) in the final match on court with the score tied 3-3.
“This was an outstanding college tennis match between two pretty evenly-matched teams in some really difficult conditions,” said Notre Dame assistant coach Todd Doebler. “Both teams fought with great energy, but Jobe got up early in the third set and was able to finish his match off. Boise State, who has had a number of near-upsets this season, deserves a lot of credit. But we fought hard and left everything on the court. Hopefully we can build off this match.”
At the No. 4 position, Parbhu claimed the opening set, but then lost a second-set tiebreaker and was broken early in the third and could never recover, as Jobe notched a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory. The Hawaiian improved to 13-4 this spring, while the Irish rookie lost for just the second time in 14 dual matches. Parbhu had been 22-1 when winning the first set, 4-1 in tiebreakers, 3-1 in three-setters, and 7-1 in close matches, but Jobe was able to claim the victory.
It was the fourth time in the last five matches that Notre Dame had seen the contest tied 3-3 with just one match left on the court. The Irish won in the situation against Michigan State on Feb. 22, then lost against #2 Virginia on Feb. 27 before beating William & Mary in the opening round of the Blue-Gray on Thursday.
Notre Dame nearly pulled off a comeback, after it trailed 3-1 with a trio of contests left on the court. Sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) instigated it by completing a 7-6, 2-6, 6-1 victory over Peruvian Matias Silva at No. 3. It was the eighth in the last nine matches for the Irishman, who is now 20-6 on the season, including 13-3 in dual-match action. He is 10-2 in road matches, 19-1 when winning the first set, and 6-1 in tiebreakers. Silva, the runner-up in last fall’s ITA Mountain Region Championships and a participant in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, had been 17-6. He started the spring playing No. 1 for the Broncos and was ranked as high as 55th in the nation.
Moments after King became the fourth Irish player to register 20 singles victories this season, fellow sophomore Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) expanded that group to five, beating German Thomas Schoeck 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 to tie the score 3-3. He has won seven of his last eight matches and stands 20-9 on the season and 10-6 this spring. Bass rallied from a one-set deficit for the fourth time this season and 11th time in his career and improved to 13-2 in his career in three-set matches, including 8-1 when the dual match is still undetermined. He also extended his winning streak in outdoor matches to 12 (8-0 this season). Schoeck was ranked 65th in the preseason national rankings.
Despite being ranked 55th, the Broncos have proven themselves a dangerous team, nearly upsetting both #1 Baylor and #11 LSU at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Four of Boise’s five defeats this season have come against top-30 foes, while the other was a 4-3 loss to New Mexico. It was the first time Notre Dame lost to a team ranked outside of the top 50 since the last time the schools met, when the 68th-ranked Broncos downed #46 ND 4-0 in consolation action of the 2003 Blue-Gray Classic.
Notre Dame’s other victory came in the only two-set singles match, which saw junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) beat Brent Werbeck 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6. It was just the fourth dual-match singles appearance for Langenkamp this spring, all victories. He is now 12-4 on the season, including 7-2 in outdoor action.
Boise State got on the board by winning at the top two positions in doubles. At No. 1, the #7-ranked team in the nation, Schoeck and Luke Shields, beat D’Amico and sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) 8-3 to improve to 25-6 this season. Jobe and Silva, ranked 39th, beat Langenkamp and Parbhu 8-5 at No. 2 to clinch the doubles point. The No. 3 match between Bass and King and the team of Werbeck and Eric Roberson was on serve at 6-5 when it was abandoned.
After Langenkamp’s victory, Roberson put Boise ahead again by beating Keckley 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5. The Irish sophomore was making his first dual-match singles appearance in nearly a month, since Feb. 13 against Indianapolis. Then Shields, ranked 34th nationally, beat senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 at No. 1. Shields is 20-7 this season.
The Irish lost to a lower-ranked team for just the second time in 13 matches this season.
Notre Dame will wrap up play in the Blue-Gray Classic on Saturday, taking on #27 Rice at 4 p.m. (CST) in consolation action.
#55 Boise State 4, #18 Notre Dame 3
No. 1: #34 Luke Shields (BSU) def. Brent D’Amico (ND) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
No. 2: Stephen Bass (ND) def. Thomas Schoeck (BSU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Barry King (ND) def. Matias Silva (BSU) 7-6, 2-6, 6-1
No. 4: Ikaika Jobe (BSU) def. Sheeva Parbhu (ND) 3-6, 7-6, 6-3
No. 5: Eric Roberson (BSU) def. Ryan Keckley (ND) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
No. 6: Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Brent Werbeck (BSU) 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish: 6, 5, 1, 3, 2, 4*
No. 1: #7 Shields/Schoeck (BSU) def. D’Amico/Keckley (ND) 8-3
No. 2: #39 Jobe/Silva (BSU) def. Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) 8-5
No. 3: S. Bass/King (ND) led Roberson/Werbeck (BSU) 6-5, abandoned
Order of Finish: 1, 2*