March 3, 2005
The 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (10-3) steps out of dual match play – and outdoors – this weekend, taking part in the 116th Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships, slated for Thursday-Sunday at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. The prestigious event is the second-oldest tennis event in the United States and features a number of non-collegiate players, including a few former Irish competitors. Live audio broadcasts of the final three rounds of the tournament will be available free via www.RadioTennis.com.
The Pacific Coast Doubles Championships have traditionally signaled the beginning of Notre Dame’s outdoor season, as the Irish have taken part in the tournament every year but one (1999) since initially participating in 1997. The event is a United States Tennis Association (USTA) men’s doubles tournament open to all USTA members, but it always attracts various top collegiate teams, as well. Among this year’s participants are #4 UCLA, #11 Texas A&M, #13 Stanford, #14 Pepperdine, #17 USC, #28 California, #29 Arizona, #34 Rice, #41 Michigan, #53 San Diego, and San Diego State. Since the tournament is open to non-collegiate competitors, no individual results will count on players’ official records.
Play begins Thursday with first-round action commencing at Noon (PST) and will continue until Sunday’s semifinals and finals. It is a 128-team draw, with some squads receiving opening-round byes. All first-match losers will participate in a consolation bracket, with some of those matches taking place at the La Jolla Recreation Center instead of the LB&TC.
Originally called the Pacific Coast Tennis Championships, the event has been held at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club since 1942. The list of past champions reads like a “Who’s Who” of American tennis legends, featuring such names as Don Budge, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Pancho Segura (a Miami graduate who defeated Notre Dame’s Charles Samson in the final of the 1944 NCAA Singles Championship for the second of his three straight national titles), Ted Schroeder, Tony Trabert, Dennis Ralston, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Roscoe Tanner, and John McEnroe. Last year’s champions were twins Richard and William Barker from Rice University, who were ranked #1 in the nation before graduating last spring.
RadioTennis.com, a free website that offers live audio of various major tennis tournaments, will provide coverage of Saturday’s quarterfinals from 1-4 p.m. (PST). On Sunday, it will cover the semifinals from 9:30 a.m.-Noon (PST) and the championship match from 1:30-3:30 p.m. In between, there will be an interview with former Stanford All-American Roscoe Tanner, who was the runner-up to Jimmy Connors in the 1971 NCAA Singles Championship, held at Notre Dame’s Courtney Tennis Center. He also will provide commentary for the final.
Notre Dame will have four teams entered in this year’s tournament, with two of them among the draw’s 32 seeded duos. The top Irish doubles team, senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) and sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), are the No. 8 seed in the bottom half of the draw (each half features a separate set of 16 seeded teams). The Notre Dame pair – which is 8-7 this season, including 8-5 in dual action at No. 1 – garnered an opening-round bye and will take on the team of Marco Amorico and Jared Kobren on Friday at 11:15 a.m. in the round of 64.
Junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) – Notre Dame’s No. 2 team which is ranked 60th in the latest national rankings – are one of the top half’s No. 9-16 seeds, having compiled an 11-4 record together this season. They also earned a first-round bye and will take on either the Saint Joseph’s team of Zach Dixon and Jeff Olson or Adam Loucks and Brian Wright, USC’s No. 3 squad. That match will be on Friday at 10:45 a.m.
Notre Dame’s No. 3 team – sophomores Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) – holds a 5-6 record together this season. They will face the Texas A&M team of Matt Bain and Yevgeny Supeko in the first round on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
The other Irish team will be junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) and sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School), who have not paired together this season, but were 1-1 as a team in 2003-04. They will take on Pepperdine’s No. 3 team, Kevin Borzenski and Richard Johnson on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
Two former Notre Dame players also are in the draw. Aaron Talarico, a 2002 graduate who is now a teaching pro in Laguna Beach, Calif., will compete with one of his students, Noah Michelson. That team will play on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. against Rice’s Hoony Shin and Efe Ustundag. Also, 200 graduate and San Diego native Trent Miller will play with his brother, 2003 Purdue grad Derek Miller. That team will take on Eric Rubens and Seth Spector from UC San Diego on Thursday at Noon.
The Irish will conclude their stay in La Jolla by returning to dual-match action on Sunday, playing a neutral-site match against Saint Joseph’s (3-4). The schools first began this tradition of hooking up in La Jolla last season, with Notre Dame claiming a 7-0 victory. SJU assistant coach Gene Miller played for current Irish head coach Bob Bayliss, during his tenure at Navy.
For complete results of the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships, see http://tournaments.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=24271.