March 6, 2005
LA JOLLA, Calif. – The 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (11-3) registered its fourth shutout of the spring, winning every set in a 7-0 victory against Saint Joseph’s (3-5) Sunday afternoon at The Bishop’s School. It is the third time in the last five seasons that the Irish have registered four 7-0 wins. The contest was the first outdoor action of the spring for Notre Dame, which holds its highest national ranking since the end of the 2001-02 campaign.
The top two doubles matches were closely contested, but Notre Dame then cruised in singles, losing just 20 total games – and no more than three in any set – en route to completing the sweep. The Irish swept the doubles matches for the fifth time this spring.
First off the court in doubles were sophomores Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), who snapped a four-match losing streak by beating Chris Spencer and Van Homer Pangilinan 8-3 at No. 3. The victory evened the Irish team’s record at 6-6 this season. Though Bass and King have played 17 matches together over the last two seasons, it was their first outdoors.
The 60th-ranked team in college tennis, junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.), clinched the doubles point for the second time this season, finishing off an 8-6 win against Antonio Aniello and Jimmy Holand at No. 2. The Notre Dame team improved to 12-4 this season, including 9-3 in dual action at No. 2. They are 6-2 in matches away from home and 4-1 outdoors. Langenkamp and Parbhu also are unbeaten in five contests this season that have been decided either in tiebreakers or by just two games. The Hawks team had been 4-1 together.
Completing the sweep for the Irish were senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), who beat A.J. Garabedian and Francisco Velazquez 9-7 at No. 1. The Irish team has won five of its last six and is 9-5 this spring in dual action. They also edged above .500 in their careers as a team, moving to 16-15. D’Amico and Keckley snapped a five-match losing streak in outdoor play and have now won 9-7 in both of their last two dual-match outings.
In singles, sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) was off the court first, winning 6-1, 6-0 against Pangilinan at No. 5. The native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia has won four of his last five matches and stands 21-9 on the season, including 8-4 in dual action. He is 13-4 away from home and has held his opponent to three games or fewer in a match on six occasions in 2004-05.
Next done was Bass, who beat Garabedian 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 in the closest singles contest. The Notre Dame sophomore has won five of his last six and is 18-9 on the season. The win was the 40th of his collegiate career in singles, to go with only 16 defeats – a .714 winning percentage. Bass continued his outdoor prowess, moving to 6-0 this season and 14-1 in his career. He has won 10 consecutive outdoor contests in singles.
Junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) provided the clinching win for the fifth time this season (a team high), beating Spencer 6-1, 6-3 at No. 6. He also leads the Irish in overall singles victories, standing 25-5, including 9-3 in dual play. Buchanan is 15-2 this season away from home and has now won 32 consecutive matches (24-0 in 2004-05) when taking the first set. He is 9-1 outdoors this season and had provided just three clinching victories in his first two collegiate seasons before becoming Notre Dame’s most prolific clincher in 2005. Buchanan is just one clinching victory away from the Irish record for most in a season since the statistic debuted in 1999. Both Andrew Laflin (in 2000) and Javier Taborga (in 2002) provided six clinching wins in a season. Buchanan is one of five players to have put up five clinching wins in a campaign.
Parbhu was off the court next, beating Aniello 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 for his fifth consecutive victory. He now stands 22-5 on the season, including 11-1 this spring in dual matches. Parbhu is 12-3 on the road and 11-3 in outdoor contests.
D’Amico then avoided the first four-match losing streak of his career by getting back on the winning track with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Velazquez at No. 1. The Irish senior had lost five of his previous six singles matches, with all but one of them coming against nationally-ranked players. D’Amico now stands 13-8 on the season, and he has won 16 consecutive matches (10-0 in 2004-05) when taking the opening set.
In the final match on court (mostly because The Bishop’s School has just five courts), 100th-ranked King beat Holland 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3. The Irishman now has won seven of his last eight contests and is 18-6 on the season, including 11-3 in dual-match action. He is 8-2 away from home and 8-1 against lower-ranked opponents. The victory allowed King to avoid his first two-match losing streak of the season.
The match concluded Notre Dame’s first outdoor weekend of action this spring. The Irish competed in the 116th Pacific Coast Doubles Championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, from Thursday through Saturday. The prestigious tournament is the second-oldest tennis event in the United States and features a number of non-collegiate players. It 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 were #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 count on players’ official records.
The Irish, who have struggled at times in doubles this season, played well in the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships, as three teams reached the round of 32 of the 128-team draw, with Langenkamp and Parbhu advancing to the final 16 before losing to Pepperdine’s No. 1 team, fifth-seeded Scott Doerner and Pedro Rico, ranked 21st in the nation. The Irish team, one of the 9-16 seeds, got a bye in the first round and then beat USC’s No. 3 team (Adam Loucks/Brian Wright) 6-3, 6-3 before winning a pro-set tiebreaker against California’s Lennart Maack and Dean Wallace.
Notre Dame’s top team, D’Amico and Keckley, was a #8 seed (both the top and bottom halves of the draw featured 16 seeds) and, after a first-round bye beat Marco Amorico and Jared Kobren 6-1, 6-2 before losing 8-6 to Fresno State’s No. 1 team, Jakub Cech and Sergui Modoc, a 9-16 seed, in the round of 32.
Bass and King beat the Texas A&M team of Matt Bain and Yevgeny Supeko 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the opening round before upsetting UCLA’s No. 3 team, Chris Lam and Philipp Gruendler 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-6). The Bruins were one of the 9-16 seeds in the bottom half. Notre Dame’s run ended in the round of 32 against Rice’s No. 2 team, Konstantin Haerle and Filip Zivojinovic, in an 8-4 affair.
Akhvlediani and Buchanan lost in the first round to Pepperdine’s No. 3 team, Kevin Borzenski and Richard Johnson, 6-4, 6-2.
Two recent Notre Dame grads – Trent Miller (’00) and Aaron Talarico (’02) – also took part in the event. The latter actually had to withdraw due to illness, while Miller – a graduate of The Bishop’s School – played with his brother Derek, a 2003 Purdue grad, and beat Eric Rubens and Seth Spector from UC San Diego 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 before losing 6-1, 6-3 to Rodrigo Gabriel and Jason Mok of Rice.
Notre Dame will continue its spring-break trip by heading east to Montgomery, Ala., for the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic, scheduled for Thursday-Sunday, March 10-13, at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center. It will be the 14th consecutive year the Irish have participated in the event, one of the most prestigious in-season dual-match tournaments in the country, posting an overall record of 19-11 and reaching the title match five times, including winning championships in 1993 and 2001. Notre Dame figures to again be one of the favorites, as only one team in the field – #19 Harvard – is ranked higher than the Irish in this week’s rankings. Other teams scheduled to compete are #26 Tulane, #30 Florida State, #34 Rice, #35 Texas Tech, #40 Louisville, #47 Boise State, #52 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, #54 Tulsa, #58 Fresno State, #59 North Carolina State, #60 Old Dominion, #63 Brown, #67 William & Mary, #74 Colorado, and San Diego State.
#22 Notre Dame 7, Saint Joseph’s 0
No. 1: Brent D’Amico (ND) def. Francisco Velazquez (SJU) 6-2, 6-2
No. 2: Stephen Bass (ND) def. A.J. Garabedian (SJU) 6-3, 6-2
No. 3: #100 Barry King (ND) def. Jimmy Holland (SJU) 6-0, 6-2
No. 4: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Antonio Aniello (SJU) 6-3, 6-1
No. 5: Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Van Homer Pangilinan (SJU) 6-1, 6-0
No. 6: Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Chris Spencer (SJU) 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: 5, 2, 6*, 4, 1, 3
No. 1: D’Amico/Keckley (ND) def. Garabedian/Velazquez (SJU) 9-7
No. 2: #60 Eric Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) def. Aniello/Holland (SJU) 8-6
No. 3: S. Bass/King (ND) def. Pangilinan/Spencer (SJU) 8-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1