March 7, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 19th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (9-4) won 6-1 at Indiana (5-6) Tuesday afternoon in the IU Varsity Tennis Center to extend its winning streak to seven matches. The Irish – playing their first dual match since moving into the national top 20 last week – won the final match on court to take the doubles point and then prevailed in five of the singles matches, including four straight-set decisions, to improve to 7-1 against Big Ten Conference opposition this season.
Notre Dame juggled its doubles lineups, which allowed it to win the doubles point for the first time in the last three matches. It came down to the No. 3 spot, where sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) won 8-5 against Neil Kenner and Michael McCarthy. That Irish duo – the only one for ND that was not making its season debut together – ended a two-match losing streak to improve to 4-2. This was the first time they had been the final contest remaining with the doubles point still undecided. Roth is now 11-3 on the season, including 7-2 in dual play. The Irish are 10-3 at No. 3 doubles.
Setting up the point was Notre Dame’s new No. 1 team of junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.), who won 8-3 against Dmytro Ishtuganov and Dara McLoughlin. The Irish pair was teaming together for just the second time in their careers, having previously beaten a team from Drake in the Tom Fallon Invitational on Sept. 18, 2004. With the victory, Notre Dame edged above .500 at No. 1 doubles on the spring, now standing 7-6.
Indiana won the quickest match, as Peter Antons and David Bubenicek topped senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) 8-5 at No. 2. It was the first time the two Notre Dame veterans had teamed together during their careers.
Off the court first in singles was Bass, who beat the Ukrainian, Ishtuganov, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1. Bass, ranked 17th nationally in singles, has won seven consecutive matches and now stands 22-5 on the season, including 9-4 in dual play at the top spot. He is 17-1 against players from the ITA’s Midwest Region. The Irish have now gone on to win the match on each of the last 20 occasions when they have gotten a victory at No. 1 singles.
Langenkamp made the score 3-0 by beating the freshman, Antons, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6. The Irish veteran has won five in a row and is now 10-7 on the season, including 6-2 in dual matches.
Clinching the victory for the team-best fifth time this season was Parbhu, who won 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 against Bubenicek, a native of the Czech Republic, at No. 2. The sophomore, ranked 28th, is the only Notre Dame player to have multiple match-clinching victories this spring, and he is now 20-5 in 2005-06, including 9-3 in dual action.
McLoughlin, a native of Ireland, delivered what would be IU’s lone point by upsetting 60th-ranked Helgeson 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3. The Irish rookie – who had won six straight matches prior to Tuesday – lost for the first time as a collegian when taking on a lower-ranked player, after having been 8-0 in that situation.
Another Irishman, King, then won a tight two-setter against McCarthy, taking a 7-6 (11-9), 7-5 decision at No. 5. The first set was a momentum builder for King, as he battled through to snap a streak of losing eight consecutive tiebreakers. He also earned his 50th career singles victory, as opposed to 26 defeats.
In the longest match, Keckley beat Kenner 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 at No. 4. The Irish junior – who has now won seven straight – continued to be Notre Dame’s most-consistent winner in singles this spring, improving to 12-1 in dual action and 14-2 overall. He is 9-2 against the region and 7-1 in three-set affairs. Keckley has won eight consecutive close singles matches (three sets, match tiebreakers, or two sets with game difference of four or fewer).
Notre Dame’s winning streak is its longest since an eight-match stretch from Feb. 16-March 16, 2002. The Irish also have won 24 in a row against unranked teams and 64 straight (dating back to 1991) on the road against unranked squads.
The Irish handed the Hoosiers their fourth consecutive defeat and won in Bloomington for the eighth time in their last nine visits. Notre Dame has won four of the last five overall in the series and now leads 40-27. IU became the sixth school that the Irish have posted 40+ victories against since becoming a varsity program in 1923.
Notre Dame is 8-1 against the Midwest Region this season, with only two such contests left on the regular-season schedule. The Irish have dominated the Big Ten, with victories against Northwestern (6-1), Purdue (6-1), Wisconsin (6-1), Michigan State (7-0), Michigan (5-2), Ohio State (5-2), and Indiana. The lone defeat came at #2 Illinois. It is the most victories for ND against the Big Ten in a season since going 8-3 in the 2001-02 campaign. Notre Dame will not face any more Big Ten opponents this season unless it occurs in the NCAA tournament.
#19 Notre Dame 6, Indiana 1SinglesNo. 1: #17 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Dmytro Ishtuganov (I) 6-4, 6-4No. 2: * #28 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. David Bubenicek (I) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3No. 3: Dara McLoughlin (I) def. #60 Brett Helgeson (ND) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3No. 4: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Neil Kenner (I) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3No. 5: Barry King (ND) def. Michael McCarthy (I) 7-6 (11-9), 7-5No. 6: Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Peter Antons (I) 6-2, 6-2Order of Finish: 1, 6, 2*, 3, 5, 4DoublesNo. 1: Keckley/Parbhu (ND) def. Ishtuganov/McLoughlin (I) 8-3No. 2: Antons/Bubenicek (I) def. King/Langenkamp (ND) 8-5No. 3: * Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) def. Kenner/McCarthy (I) 8-5Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3*