March 13, 2006
#19 Notre Dame (9-4) vs. #35 Florida State (8-7)Tuesday, March 14, 5 p.m. (EST) â€¢ Scott Speicher Tennis Center â€¢ Tallahassee, Florida- Live Scoring: seminoles.com (also linked on und.com)
Blue-Gray National Tennis ClassicLagoon Park Tennis Center â€¢ Montgomery, AlabamaFirst Round - Thursday, March 16Quarterfinals - Friday, March 17Semifinals - Saturday, March 18Championship - Sunday, March 19- Tournament Website: bluegraytennis.com
#19 IRISH TO PLAY AT FLORIDA STATE AND IN BLUE-GRAY CLASSIC: The 19th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (8-4) travels south for spring break this week, first challenging #35 Florida State (8-7) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. (EST) in Tallahassee and then heading to Montgomery, Ala., for one of the nation’s top in-season tournaments, the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic. The Irish will be taking part in the event for the 15th consecutive year and are looking for their third championship (also in 1993 and 2001).
FLORIDA STATE AT A GLANCE: The Seminoles have an 8-7 record and were ranked 35th in last week’s ITA listing, though they figure to move upwards when this week’s rankings are released on Tuesday after a 7-0 upset of #18 Georgia Tech on Sunday … they are tied for sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 1-1 record … FSU has been without several of its key players at times this spring, but now boasts a complete lineup and has won three of its last four … the Seminoles were ranked an all-time high of 11th in the preseason, but fell to a season low of 38th in early February before rebounding … Florida State already has two wins against top-20 squads this season, having beaten then-#10 South Carolina 4-1 in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship …four of FSU’s defeats came against teams currently ranked in the top 15 (#2 Pepperdine, #7 Baylor, #9 Ohio State, #14 Miami) … the others were 4-3 decisions vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (currently ranked 41st), Nebraska (52nd), and Texas A&M (60th, but sure to rise this week after upsetting #2 Illinois) … Ohio State is the only common opponent faced by Notre Dame and Florida State … the Buckeyes won 4-1 at FSU on March 4 after losing 5-2 at ND on Feb. 24 … Florida State returned five of nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that was 21-8 and ranked 13th in the nation … the Seminoles finished second to Virginia in the ACC with a 7-2 record in the regular season and fell 4-1 to the Cavaliers in the title match of the league tournament … Florida State – which had never previously been to the final 16 of the NCAAs – then put together a Cinderella run, beating Ball State (4-0) before knocking off #11 Kentucky (4-2) and #5 Illinois (4-2) before falling to #3 Florida (4-0) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament … gone from that squad are the likes of All-American Mat Cloer (finished 2004-05 ranked 18th nationally in singles) and Jeff Groslimond … among the returnees are four players who have held national rankings this season … junior Ytai Abougzir (10-10 overall; 6-5 dual, mostly at No. 1) leads the way at 103rd after being a career-high 72nd to start the spring …freshman Maciek Sykut (15-10 overall; 8-4 dual, mostly at No. 4) is 109th (13th among freshmen) after being 68th earlier this spring … junior Jonathas Sucupira (12-7 overall; 3-1 at No. 2) from Brazil – who had been ranked as high as 36th this season before dropping out in the latest set – recently returned to the lineup, while sophomore Sam Chang (21-11; 9-5 dual at Nos. 1-3) has been ranked as high as 49th this season … Abougzir and senior Chris Westerhof from South Africa are ranked 29th in doubles with a 10-4 record (7-4 dual at No. 1) … head coach Dwayne Hultquist is in his seventh season as head coach of the Seminoles, having compiled a 90-73 (.552) mark, including 1-2 against Notre Dame … this is the final non-conference match of the season for the `Noles, who will resume ACC play on Saturday at home against #15 Clemson.
IRISH-SEMINOLES SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Florida State will meet for the fourth consecutive season and fifth time overall, with the Irish holding a 3-1 edge in the series (see page 42 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), including wins in the last two matchups … this will the the third trip to Tallahassee for the Irish … Florida State prevailed 6-3 in the first meeting between the schools, in 1964, though Notre Dame considers that to have been an exhibition match (FSU does not) … the Irish won in their last trip to Florida State, by a 6-1 score in 2004 … the first official contest between the schools came in 1992, when the 10th-ranked Irish won 5-1 in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the opening round of the H.E.B. Championship … the current incarnation of the series began in 2003, with Florida State prevailing 4-3 at Notre Dame … a year ago, Notre Dame won a 4-3 decision in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Jan. 30 … the doubles point came down to the No. 2 spot, where Eric Langenkamp and Sheeva Parbhu upset the 32nd-ranked team of Jeff Groslimond and Chris Westehof 8-4 in the final match remaining to put ND (which also won at No. 1) ahead … the Irish got straight-set victories at Nos. 2 and 6, while Florida State won in two sets at Nos. 1 and 5 … Notre Dame led 3-2 with only three-setters at Nos. 3 and 4 left … Parbhu beat Westerhof (6-3 in the third) to clinch the win before Groslimond edged Barry King in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 3 to provide the final margin … this will be the fourth straight year that both teams have been nationally-ranked … Irish head coach Bob Bayliss holds a 3-1 career record against the Buckeyes (2-1 during his tenure at Notre Dame).
BLUE-GRAY NATIONAL TENNIS CLASSIC FORMAT: The Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic, one of the oldest and most-prestigious in-season college tennis tournaments in the country, will take place Thursday-Sunday at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center in Montgomery, Ala. It is a dual-match tournament with consolation play. The 19 teams participating in 2006 are #15 Louisville, #19 Notre Dame, #22 Virginia Commonwealth, #26 South Alabama, #32 Boise State, #36 Tulsa, #38 Middle Tennessee State, #40 Colorado, #42 Texas Tech, #47 Brown, #50 Alabama, #59 Furman, #61 Mississippi State, #68 William & Mary, #69 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, #74 Fresno State, Troy, and NAIA #2 Auburn-Montgomery. The draw for the event will be announced later this week and posted on the tournament’s official website, www.bluegraytennis.com, which also will have results of all matches. Governor Bob Riley has proclaimed this as “Tennis Week” in the state of Alabama.
BLUE-GRAY HISTORY: The Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic began in 1949 as a tournament of top singles and doubles players and evolved into its current dual-match format in 1984. Notre Dame has participated in every event since 1991, compiling a 31-19 (.620) record, reaching the title match on five occasions, and walking away with the championship in 1993 and 2001. The Irish are seeking a third title in the event, which would tie them with USC for the most Blue-Gray championships since the current format was adopted. For details on Irish results in the Blue-Gray, see the sidebar on this page. Twice Notre Dame student-athletes have been tabbed MVP of the Blue-Gray Classic (David DiLucia in 1991; Javier Taborga in 2002), and two others – Will Forsyth in 1993 and Andy Zurcher in `94 – won the tournament’s sportsmanship award.
BLUE-GRAY FIELD: The field for the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic features 19 schools (#15 Louisville, #19 Notre Dame, #22 Virginia Commonwealth, #26 South Alabama, #32 Boise State, #36 Tulsa, #38 Middle Tennessee State, #40 Colorado, #42 Texas Tech, #47 Brown, #50 Alabama, #59 Furman, #61 Mississippi State, #68 William & Mary, #69 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, #74 Fresno State, Troy, and NAIA #2 Auburn-Montgomery), including four listed in the top 30 of last week’s national rankings and a total of 11 in the top 50. In fact, just two squads (Troy and NAIA competitor Auburn-Montgomery) were not in last week’s national top 75. Individually, the tournament features 29 players who currently carry national rankings, including seven in the Division I top 50. Leading the way is Irish junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) at 13th, with VCU’s Arnaud Lecloerec (19th), Tulsa’s Arnau Brugues (21st), and Boise State’s Luke Shields (23rd) right behind. There are also 12 nationally-ranked doubles teams in the field, including the third-ranked squad of Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom from Middle Tennessee State. NAIA power Auburn-Montgomery boasts some of the top talent at that level, with four of the top 15 singles players in NAIA, as well as a pair of top-10 doubles teams. For a full listing of all ranked players in the event, see page 4 of pdf.
DiLUCIA TO BE INDUCTED INTO BLUE-GRAY HALL OF FAME: Former Notre Dame All-American David DiLucia (`92) will be one of 37 nominees that will be inducted into the newly-established Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic Hall of Fame this week. The enshrinees represent the top tennis talent to have taken part in the event over the years. Among the other notables are Paul Annacone (Tennessee), James Blake (Harvard), Mahesh Bhupathi (Mississippi), Kevin Curren (Texas), Ellis Ferreira (Alabama), Peter Fleming (Michigan), Rich Leach (USC), Pancho Segura (Miami), Stan Smith (USC), and MaliVai Washington (Michigan).
BASS, KING LOOK TO CONTINUE BLUE-GRAY SUCCESS: Notre Dame juniors Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) have been strong in singles action at the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic in their careers. Bass boasts a 5-1 mark in the event, with the lone defeat coming against VCU’s Sergi Arumi in the quarterfinals of the 2004 tournament. King not only has a 4-1 singles record in the Blue-Gray (losing only a three-setter against Florent Girod of Mississippi State in `04), but also has three clinching victories in the tournament. Last year, he won three-setters in all three of Notre Dame’s matches, providing
IRISH KNOCK OFF #11 OHIO STATE: After three close calls earlier this spring, Notre Dame finally broke through with a big victory, beating #11 Ohio State 5-2 on Feb. 24 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The match snapped a 17-match losing streak for ND against top-15 squads, and OSU was the highest-ranked team to fall victim to the Irish since Notre Dame won 4-3 at #5 Illinois on March 7, 2002. It marked the third time that a team ranked among the nation’s top 11 lost at Notre Dame – the first since #8 Duke lost 4-3 to the 29th-ranked Irish in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 16, 1997. This victory also was just the third time that ND beat a top-11 team without being listed in the top 20 itself.
ND SUFFERS A TRIO OF 4-3 LOSSES TO TEAMS CURRENTLY IN TOP 15: Three of Notre Dame’s four defeats this season have come by 4-3 scores on the road against teams currently ranked among the national top 15. The Irish were up 3-2 against #1 Virginia (now ranked 11th) on Jan. 27 in Richmond, but lost three-set affairs at No. 1 (6-4 in the third set after serving with a service break at 4-3) and No. 2 (6-4 in the third set). On Feb. 4, Notre Dame lost three-set matches at No. 1 (6-4 in the third) and No. 3 (6-3 in the third) to lose 4-3 at #30 North Carolina (now ranked 13th). A day later, the Irish won three-setters at Nos. 2 and 5 to tie the score 3-3 against #9 Duke (now fourth), but the Blue Devils won in three sets at No. 1 (6-3 in the third) to avoid the upset.
IRISH GO 7-1 vs. THE BIG TEN: Notre Dame played eight matches against members of the Big Ten Conference this spring, winning all but a road contest against #3 Illinois. The Irish upset #11 Ohio State by a 5-2 score and also beat Michigan 5-2. Notre Dame won 7-0 against Michigan State and 6-1 vs. Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
LET’S PLAY THREE … PLEASE!!: Notre Dame players have combined to win 71% of their three-set matches this season, compiling a 29-12 record. Leading the way is junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), who is 7-1 – including 6-0 this spring, all with the dual outcome undetermined – while freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) is 4-1 in three-setters (3-0 in dual action with the team outcome not yet determined), and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) stands 7-2, including 4-1 when the dual winner is not yet decided.
ROCKING THE REGION: Irish competitors have combined to win 78% of their singles matches against other players from the ITA’s Midwest Region, which includes most of the Big Ten Conference and other area squads. Notre Dame players have a 83-24 singles record vs. regional foes and are 7-1 in dual matches this spring against that group, having lost only to #3 Illinois. No ND student-athlete has lost more than three times against the region this season, and Irish junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) – who became the first ND player since 1993 to win the singles title in the ITA Midwest Championships in October – leads the way with a 17-1 mark (the lone defeat coming against Illinois’ Kevin Anderson, currently ranked #6). Sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) is 15-2 against regional opponents, while freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) is 12-3. Notre Dame also excelled in singles against the region a year ago, combining for a 104-37 (.738) mark in 2004-05.
KILLER KECKLEY: Junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), the 2002 Indiana state singles champion and a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, has been Notre Dame’s most-consistent winner in singles this spring, compiling a 12-1 mark in dual action (4-0 at No. 4, 8-1 at No. 5). That came after he had just an 11-8 record in dual singles play during the first two years of his collegiate career. This spring, Keckley has wins against #1 Virginia, #30 North Carolina, #9 Duke, and #11 Ohio State. He is 14-2 overall in singles in 2005-06.
ND STRONG AT No. 3 DOUBLES: After struggling there in recent seasons, Notre Dame’s best spot in doubles this spring has been No. 3, where five different teams have combined to go 10-3, with the lone defeats coming against North Carolina (8-4), Michigan (8-6), and #11 Ohio State (8-6). Over the previous three campaigns, the Irish had won just 42% of their matches at No. 3 doubles, combining for a 27-37 mark (12-10 in `05, 9-14 in `04, 6-13 in `03). This season, the team of senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) is 3-0 at that spot. Roth and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) – who played there in ND’s last two dual match – are 3-2, while Langenkamp and junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) are 2-1. The pairs of Bass and Helgeson and Roth and senior captain Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) both also have wins to their credit. Roth holds a 7-2 mark at the spot, while Langenkamp is 5-1.
ND 19th IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: After not taking part in dual-match action, Notre Dame fell one spot to 19th in last week’s Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the first edition determined by the ITA’s computer formula. It came one week after the Irish were a season-high 18th in the listing. In all, 16 of Notre Dame’s 19 regular-season opponents are listed in the rankings, with seven in the top 15: #2 Illinois, #4 Duke, #9 Ohio State, #10 Texas, #11 Virginia, #13 North Carolina, and #15 Louisville.
IRISH BOAST TWO AMONG NATION’S TOP 35 IN SINGLES: In the latest set of Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released on March 7, Irish junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) is 13th nationally in singles, while sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) is 33rd. Notre Dame is one of only nine Division I schools (along with Duke, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, and Virginia) to have multiple players among the top 30 in the listing. Irish freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) is ranked 89th, while junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) is 106th. Notre Dame is one of just 10 squads (along with Arkansas, Baylor, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Tulsa, and Virginia) to have four or more players in the national singles rankings.
HELGESON AMONG NATION’S HIGHEST-RANKED FRESHMEN: Rookie Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) is 89th in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, which stands seventh among freshmen. The only first-year collegians ranked higher than Helgeson are Stanford’s Matt Bruch (9th), Radford’s Martin Sayer (22nd), Bruno Agostinelli of Kentucky (32nd), Ohio State’s Bryan Koniecko (71st), Ryan Sweeting from Florida (72nd), and Maryland’s Nickolai Nielsen (86th). Helgeson – who was listed 108th in the preseason after being the only college-bound player (and just the second ND recruit) to reach the quarterfinals of the USTA Super National Hardcourt Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. – was 60th in the Feb. 22 rankings to become the highest-ranked Notre Dame rookie since Ryan Simme concluded 1993-94 at 52nd. Helgeson is in an elite group of just four Irish rookies to have been nationally-ranked in singles, joining Simme and All-Americans David DiLucia (class of `92) and Ryan Sachire (`00).
KECKLEY EARNS TOP-20 RANKING WITH FOURTH DIFFERENT PARTNER: Notre Dame junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend,Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) – the 2002 Indiana state singles champion and a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend – is the only Notre Dame player ever to be listed in the ITA national doubles rankings with four different partners, having earned a top-20 listing with each. He is currently listed 20th with classmate Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), as well as 26th with senior senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) – after that squad was 12th to start the spring. Keckley was first listed 18th with Luis Haddock following the fall of the 2003-04 season and then switched partners and peaked at 14th with Brent D’Amico later that spring.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 19th year at Notre Dame with a 336-161 (.676) record, while his 36-year career mark stands at 627-264-1 (.703). He is one of just six active NCAA Division I coaches to boast 600+ career victories. Bayliss has had just one losing season in his career and has seen his teams finish in the top 20 nine times, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on five occasions, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 1993 and a national runner-up finish in ’92. He also is one of just three coaches in Division I to have led his current team to 14 NCAA tournaments over the last 15 seasons. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time ITA Midwest Region coach of the year and 12-time conference coach of the year (five times in the last eight years in the BIG EAST, including 2004 and `05). In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 12 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 17 times, won eight national ITA awards, and earned 16 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 11 to the NCAA doubles tournament.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this weekend:
– Notre Dame has won seven consecutive matches. [last loss: 2/7/06 at #3 Illinois, 7-0]
– Notre Dame has won eight consecutive home matches. [last loss: 3/17/05 vs. #3 Illinois, 6-1]
– Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive matches when winning at No. 1 singles. [last loss: 4/4/04 at Virginia Tech, lost 4-3; Luis Haddock def. Andreas Laulund 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1]
– Notre Dame has lost four consecutive 4-3 matches [last win: 3/12/05 vs. #27 Rice in Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic]
– Stephen Bass has won seven consecutive singles matches [last loss: 2/7/06 vs. Illinois’ Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-5]
– Stephen Bass has won 13 consecutive singles matches at home [last loss: 3/17/05 vs. Illinois’ Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-4]
– Stephen Bass is 10-0 in singles in his career at the Courtney Tennis Center.
– Sheeva Parbhu has won 22 in a row when winning the opening set (39-2 career record) [last loss: 3/11/05 vs. Boise State’s Ikaika Jobe]
– Sheeva Parbhu has won 12 consecutive singles matches at home [last loss: 3/17/05 vs. Illinois’ Monte Tucker 6-2, 7-5]
– Sheeva Parbhu has won 11 consecutive singles matches outdoors [last loss: 3/11/05 vs. Boise State’s Ikaika Jobe]
– Brett Helgeson has won seven consecutive singles matches [last loss: 2/7/06 vs. Illinois’ Ruben Gonzales 6-2, 6-3]
– Ryan Keckley has won a career-high seven consecutive singles matches [last loss: 2/7/06 vs. Illinois’ Ryan Rowe 6-3, 6-4]
– Ryan Keckley has won five consecutive three-set matches with the dual-match outcome still undetermined [last loss: 4/3/05 vs. SMU’s David Kuczer 4-6, 6-4, 6-2]
– Ryan Keckley has won eight consecutive close singles matches (three sets, match tiebreaker, or two sets with game differential of four or fewer) [last loss: 10/21/05 vs. Minnesota’s Adrien Debreyne 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5)]
– Ryan Keckley has won 11 consecutive home singles matches [last loss: 1/15/05 vs. Illinois State’s Alfredo Lagarda 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (11-9)]
– Eric Langenkamp has won five consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 2/7/06 vs. Illinois’ Pramod Dabir 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-0)]
– Patrick Buchanan has won six consecutive singles matches outdoors [last loss: 4/3/05 vs. SMU’s Henrik Soderberg 6-3, 6-3]
– Yuichi Uda has won six consecutive close sets (6-4, 7-5, or 7-6) [last loss: 10/15/04 vs. Wisconsin’s Brian Ko, 6-4 in third set]
– Yuichi Uda has won six consecutive singles matches at home [only career loss: 9/17/04 vs. Purdue’s Scott Warner 6-4, 7-5]
TOP WINS UNDER BAYLISS: See pdf for a list of Notre Dame’s 22 victories against top-11 teams during the tenure of head coach Bob Bayliss, ordered by opponent ranking.
CLINCHING PARBHU: While no other Notre Dame player has multiple match-clinching victories this spring, sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) has delivered the decisive blow to opponents on five occasions, all against Big Ten Conference opponents: vs. Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State, #11 Ohio State, and Indiana. He is just one shy of the Irish record for most match-clinching wins in a season since the statistic debuted in 1999. Andrew Laflin posted six clinching wins in 1999-2000, while Javier Taborga had six in 2001-02.
QUICK KECKLEY: Junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) has established himself as the quickest singles player on the Irish, as he has been first off the court in six of the 13 dual matches this spring: vs. Northwestern, #1 Virginia, William & Mary, #3 Illinois, Purdue, and Wisconsin.
KECKLEY/KING KNOCK OFF NATION’S #1-RANKED DOUBLES TEAM: Notre Dame juniors Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) posted an 8-4 victory over the #1-ranked team in college tennis, North Carolina’s Raian Luchi of Romania and Brad Pomeroy, on Feb. 4 at the No. 1 position. It was the first time an Irish doubles team had knocked off the nation’s top-ranked squad since Feb. 18, 1993, when Chuck Coleman and Will Forsyth prevailed 8-3 against Anders Eriksson and Trey Phillips of Texas at No. 1 in the opening round of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Louisville, Ky. Notre Dame, ranked sixth at the time, went on to win the match 4-3 against the 10th-ranked Longhorns. This season’s win marked the first time King had upset a nationally-ranked team in doubles during his collegiate career, while Keckley – who is currently ranked 12th nationally with senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) – has five to his credit.
HELGESON POSTS HIGHEST-RANKED ND SINGLES WIN SINCE 2000: Freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) knocked off Virginia sophomore Treat Huey 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4 singles in dual-match action on Jan. 27. Huey was ranked #6 in the national singles rankings, making him the highest-ranked player to fall victim to a Notre Dame student-athlete since Javier Taborga beat then-#3 K.J. Hippensteel of Stanford on Oct. 12, 2000, in the second round of the ITA All-American Championships.
BASS, PARBHU EXCEL IN NATIONAL INDOORS: Junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) combined to make Notre Dame one of only two schools (along with Stanford) to have multiple players among the final 16 in the season’s second grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. Bass knocked off the tournament’s No. 6 seed to become just the second Notre Dame player (along with Ryan Sachire in 2000) ever to reach the quarterfinals of the event. Just six schools – Duke, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, and Virginia – qualified two players for the 32-player singles draw (none had more than two). This season marked the fourth time – all since 1992 – that Notre Dame has had multiple players in the men’s singles draw of the National Indoor Championships, but the first since 1995. This was the first time that both reached the round of 16.
BASS, PARBHU COMBINE FOR FIRST ALL-IRISH SINGLES FINAL IN ITA MIDWEST CHAMPIONSHIPS: Junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) prevailed against his teammate, sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) in the first-ever all-Irish singles final of the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Championships. No ND player had reached the singles final of that event – which features the top talent in the ITA’s Midwest Region – since 1996 (Ryan Sachire), and Bass became the first Irish victor since Andy Zurcher did so in 1993. Bass came away with a 7-5, 6-2 victory in the championship match to snap Parbhu’s 17-match winning streak and join an elite club of just four Notre Dame players who have won that singles title. Notre Dame was the only school to have two players in the quarterfinals, and that duo kept winning. Bass – a semifinalist in 2004 – is the fifth Irish player to reach the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Championships multiple times.
BRING ON THE BEST … ACTUALLY, WE’LL COME TO YOU: Notre Dame will face seven teams ranked among the national top 25 in the preseason edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, with all but one of those matches coming on the road. The Irish lost 4-3 against preseason #1 Virginia in Richmond on Jan. 27 and play true road matches against #4 Illinois (lost 7-0 on Feb. 7), #8 Duke (lost 4-3 on Feb. 5), #11 Florida State (March 14), #13 Texas A&M (March 26), and #22 Texas (March 25). Ohio State, ranked 18th in the preseason, visited the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 24 (ND won 5-2). All 11 of Notre Dame’s scheduled road matches during the regular season will be against teams that were in the preseason rankings, as the Irish also have road dates with #31 North Carolina (lost 4-3 on Feb. 4), #48 Michigan (won 5-2 on Feb. 18), #51 Northwestern (won 6-1 on Jan. 21), #60 Indiana (March 7), and #68 Ball State (April 9).
TERRIFIC TRIO: The 2005-06 campaign marks the first time ever that Notre Dame had three different players compete in singles action in grand slams in the fall semester. Senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) participated in the singles main draw of the season’s first grand slam, the Polo Ralph Lauren ITA All-American Championships, while junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) played in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.
IRISH BOAST FOUR AMONG TOP 25 SINGLES PLAYERS IN MIDWEST REGION: Notre Dame joined Ohio State as the only schools with four or more singles players listed among the top 25 in the ITA’s Midwest Region rankings, released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in December. Junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) led the way at #2, while sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) was fifth, freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) was 13th, and senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) was 22nd. Junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) would have been ranked, but was listed as having insufficient data since he did not play collegiately during the fall. Bass is the highest-ranked Irish player in the regional singles rankings since Ryan Sachire finished his career in 1999-2000 at #1, which concluded a decade-long span in which ND boasted the region’s top singles player in every season but one. In an almost-unbelievable turn, Langenkamp and junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) were listed just 13th in the regional doubles rankings determined by a committee of head coaches, despite having wins over the teams ranked #2 and #5 in the region and coming in 12th in the national rankings (determined by the ITA’s computer formula).
LANGENKAMP WINS ITA SUMMER NATIONALS: Senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) claimed the singles title in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Summer Championships, presented by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) last month at Indiana University. Among the highlights of his run were wins against Steven Peretz (who played Nos. 4-6 for Michigan last spring), Ryan Preston (Nos. 4-5 for Vanderbilt in ’05), top-seeded Paul Rose (Purdue’s No. 1 player who is ranked 54th in the preseason ITA listing), Will Gray (Nos. 3-6 for Tulsa in ’05), and Eric Hechtman (Nos. 2-3 for Miami in `05). The championship earned Langenkamp – who combined with sophomore Yuichi Uda (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Laurel Springs School [CA]) to make Notre Dame the only school with two players among the final 16 in the singles draw – wild-card entry into the main draw of the first grand slam of the 2005-06 collegiate season, the Polo Ralph Lauren ITA All-American Championships. It was the first time an Irish player ever won a title in the tournament.
BUCHANAN SERVES AS SOLE TEAM CAPTAIN: Senior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) was voted team captain for the 2005-06 season. Following three straight years in which Notre Dame had multiple team captains – the only such span in the history of the program – the Irish have now returned to their tradition of having a single team captain. In 84 years of varsity tennis, Notre Dame has had just one team captain in all but 10 seasons, with the most-recent solo captain being Casey Smith in 2001-02. He concluded a 32-year stretch in which all but two seasons saw Notre Dame have exactly one captain.
DOEBLER PROMOTED TO ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH: Todd Doebler was promoted to associate head coach of the Irish men’s tennis team, it was announced in January. Now in his fourth year on the coaching staff at Notre Dame, he is the first associate head coach in the history of the program, as well as one of just five currently in the Irish athletic department.
IRISH INK SEAN CORRIGAN FOR NEXT SEASON: Long Island’s Sean Corrigan (Lido Beach, N.Y./Long Beach H.S.), who was ranked among the top 25 in the nation in both singles and doubles at the end of 2004, signed a national letter of intent during the early period to enroll at the University of Notre Dame next fall and join its men’s tennis team. Corrigan, a senior at Long Beach High School, finished 2004 ranked 24th in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) boys’ 16-and-under national rankings in singles, as well as 22nd in doubles (first in the Eastern Section). In prep action, he went undefeated at No. 1 singles last spring for Long Beach.
DAVID DiLUCIA NOW PERSONAL COACH FOR LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A five-time All-American during his four-year career at Notre Dame (1988-92), David DiLucia, left his job with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in December 2005 to become the personal coach of the world’s #1 women’s player, Lindsay Davenport. DiLucia was ranked #1 in both singles and doubles during his collegiate career and then went on to play in the singles main draw in all four professional grand slams before retiring in 2002. During his pro career, DiLucia earned wins over players such as Gustavo Kuerten, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Mark Philippoussis, and David Wheaton.
BAYLISS HONORED BY NAVAL ACADEMY: Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss was recognized recently by the United States Naval Academy, where he was the head tennis coach for 15 years, as well as the school’s head squash coach for four seasons. Navy named one of its varsity tennis courts in his honor and also dedicated a plaque in its squash facility on the occasion of the return to campus by Bayliss, who posted a 19-0 record against Army during his tenure in Annapolis. The long-time Irish mentor visited the Naval Academy during the weekend of Nov. 5, which also featured the football team’s homecoming game, a 49-21 win over Tulane. Though the tennis court had been dedicated previously – when Bayliss was unable to attend – there was a small ceremony held to show it to him. The weekend also featured the squash team’s annual alumni match, the Bowen Cup, and the dedication of a new plaque honoring Bayliss’ service to that team.
BAYLISS AT WIMBLEDON: Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss headed to London, England, last June to participate in a High Performance Continuing Education Program, which was organized by the USA Tennis Coaching Education Department and held in conjunction with The Championships Wimbledon. A total of 15 American coaches who work primarily with junior players took part, with the intent of continuing to work toward the program’s ultimate goal of developing world-class American champions. Bayliss was selected to participate in the continuing education program out of a pool of applicants of coaches who work with talented and highly-ranked junior players.
ND #1 IN NACDA DIRECTORS’ CUP: Notre Dame is in first place in the most-recent set of standings in the 2005-06 United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Dirctors of Athletics (NACDA), which were released on Jan. 12 and included results from all fall sports. Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 412 points based on their third-place finish in men’s cross country (85 points), their seventh-place finish in women’s cross country (69 points), their quarterfinal appearance in women’s soccer (73), their third-round appearance in men’s soccer (64), their regional semifinal appearance in women’s volleyball (64) and their 11th-place finish in football based on the final USA Today poll (57). This marks the second straight year Notre Dame has ranked atop the final fall standings – and its 412 points are its highest-ever fall total. Penn State (308.5 points) ranks second, Stanford (282) is third, and Duke (280) and Wisconsin (277) round out the top five. Notre Dame finished 16th in 2004-05, its fifth consecutive top-20 placing, and has three times finished an all-time high of 11th (1993-94, `95-96, 2000-01). Duke posted its all-time best finish of fifth in 2004-05.
CHANGES TO THE ITA RANKINGS: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) recently announced some changes to its national rankings for the 2005-06 season: (1) It will use one set of points for wins and also a tighter set of points, with less gaps. This set of points will be the same set that has been used for the season’s first computer rankings in the past; (2) There will be bonus points awarded for road wins; (3) The rankings that are run at the time of NCAA Championship selections will be run twice and the second run of the rankings will be the published ranking; (4) There will be expanded, unpublished rankings (and values for opponents): 76-125 for team, 126-175 for singles, and 61-90 for doubles; (5) The first computer rankings (for team) will take place 2 weeks earlier on March 8; (6) The singles and doubles rankings from Fall results will go back to being a computer ranking; it had been done by committee vote the past three years.
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.firstname.lastname@example.org, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.