March 26, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 20th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (14-5) won four of five three-set singles matches en route to a 5-2 home victory against #56 Michigan (10-6) Saturday afternoon. The Irish lost the doubles point and three first sets, but then came back, with sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) finally providing the clinching victory, after losing the opening set of his match 6-2.
For the second year in a row when these teams played, every singles match but one was undecided after two sets of play. With only three-setters remaining, the score was knotted at 1-1.
Sophomore Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) then handed Notre Dame the lead, completing a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 upset of the 81st-ranked player in college tennis, freshman Croat Matko Maravic, at No. 1. Bass registered his fourth victory over a nationally-ranked player this season and improved to 14-2 in his career in three-set matches, including 9-1 when the team outcome is still undetermined. He has now won nine of his last 11 matches and is 22-10 overall this season, including 12-7 in dual matches (5-4 at No. 1).
Michigan’s Brian Hung of China evened the score at 2-2 when he completed a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 victory over Irish senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) at No. 2.
Sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) continued to be one of Notre Dame’s top clutch players, finishing off a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 triumph over Ryan Heller at No. 3 to put the Irish within a single point of victory. The Irishman has won four consecutive three-set matches with the team outcome still undecided. Overall, he stands 22-7 on the season and 15-4 in dual play. King has won 11 of his last 13 matches and is 12-4 against the Midwest Region.
Akhvlediani’s win was a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 decision against Steve Peretz at No. 5. It was the second clinching victory of the spring for the native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. He has won four straight and holds a 24-10 overall mark this season, including 11-5 in dual-match play and 14-3 against the Midwest Region. It was the second consecutive match that Akhvlediani had rallied from losing the first set to prevail, after he had done that just one time previously in his collegiate career.
Junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) prevailed in the longest match, rallying from a one-set deficit to beat German Josef Fischer 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6. He snapped a three-match losing streak and came back from losing the first for a victory for the second time this season and sixth time in his career. On the season, Buchanan leads the Irish in singles victory with a 26-8 record, including 16-2 vs. regional foes.
Freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) was the lone two-set victor, as he dropped just four games against senior David Anving of Sweden at No. 4 en route to a 6-4, 6-0 win that put Notre Dame on the board. Parbhu is now 25-7 this season, including 13-3 in dual action and 8-2 against regional players.
The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker at No. 1, where the 43rd-ranked team of Hung and Maravic prevailed 9-8 (7-5) over D’Amico and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.). Notre Dame used the same six players that have been regulars in doubles this spring, but Irish head coach Bob Bayliss put them into three combinations that had yet to be tried this dual-match campaign. D’Amico and Langenkamp hadn’t played together since reaching the round of 16 in last October’s ITA Midwest Championships.
Sophomores King and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) were victorious in their first career match together, winning 9-8 (7-3) at No. 2 against Fischer and Heller.
The quickest doubles match saw Anving and Vinny Gossain down Bass and Parbhu 8-5 at No. 3.
Notre Dame beat Michigan for the 10th consecutive time at home and improved to 15-4 against the Wolverines – the only school to have played the Irish more than 18 times and hold a winning record (41-25) – in the Bayliss era.
Notre Dame improved to 5-1 against Big Ten Conference opponents this season, having topped Indiana (5-2), Wisconsin (6-1), Northwestern (5-2), Michigan State (4-3), and the Wolverines. The lone defeat came against #3 Illinois.
The Irish will return to action on Monday against another Big-Ten squad, when they travel to #68 Purdue for a 1 p.m. (EST) contest.
#20 Notre Dame 5, #56 Michigan 2
No. 1: Stephen Bass (ND) def. #81 Matko Maravic (M) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
No. 2: Brian Hung (M) def. Brent D’Amico (ND) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
No. 3: Barry King (ND) def. Ryan Heller (M) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
No. 4: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. David Anving (M) 6-4, 6-0
No. 5: Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Steve Peretz (M) 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
No. 6: Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Josef Fischer (M) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish: 4, 1, 2, 3, 5*, 6
No. 1: #43 Hung/Maravic (M) def. D’Amico/Eric Langenkamp (ND) 9-8 (7-5)
No. 2: Ryan Keckley/King (ND) def. Fischer/Heller (M) 9-8 (7-3)
No. 3: Anving/Vinny Gossain (M) def. S. Bass/Parbhu (ND) 8-5
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1*