April 17, 2008
2008 BIG EAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPTampa, Florida â€¢ USF Varsity Tennis Courts
Friday, April 18Quarterfinals, 9 a.m. (ET) -  Notre Dame (12-10) vs. Villanova/  Connecticut
Saturday, April 19Semifinals, 12 p.m.
Sunday, April 20Final, 9 a.m.
#33 NOTRE DAME LOOKS FOR FOURTH BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP IN FIVE YEARS: The top-seeded and 33rd-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (12-10) will look for its seventh BIG EAST Conference Championship title this weekend at USF in Tampa. The Irish will open play against either eighth-seeded Villanova (6-15) or ninth-seeded UConn (9-7) on Friday at 9 a.m. (ET) in quarterfinal action. With a victory, Notre Dame would then face either fourth-seeded Marquette (15-6) or fifth-seeded DePaul (13-9) on Saturday at 12 p.m. in the semifinals, while the top contenders in the other half of the draw are second-seeded and 38th-ranked Louisville (16-6) and third-seeded and 40th-ranked USF (12-5). The title match will be Sunday at 9 a.m. The Irish defeated the Cardinals last Sunday at home by a 4-3 count in their lone Big East contest this season. Notre Dame has reached the final in all 12 years since becoming a conference member, winning championships in 1996, `99, 2002, `04, `05, and `07 while the `03 title match was rained out in progress with no winner declared.
IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: Nine of the 16 members of the BIG EAST Conference field teams in men’s tennis, but the league does not require round-robin competition during the season. All nine teams, as selected by the conference based on national ranking and head-to-head results, earned invitations to the league championship, a single-elimination team tournament with the winner gaining the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, which begins on campus sites May 9-11. Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed in the event for the tenth time overall and fourth consecutive season. The Irish also came in as the top seed in 1996, ’97, ’98, ’99, `01, ’05, ’06 and `07. Notre Dame has reached the final of the BIG EAST tournament in all 12 years since becoming a conference member in 1995-96, winning championships in 1996, ’99, `02, ’04,`05, and `07 while seeing the ’03 title match rained out. Junior Brett Helgeson is a leading candidate to be the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, as he is the second highest-ranked singles player in the conference. At 46th, Helgeson is just three places behind #43 Austen Childs whom Helgeson defeated in straight sets in last Sunday’s match. The top-ranked doubles team in the league is Louisville’s duo of Austen Childs and Simon Childs (40th), however the two did not play together in Sunday’s match against the Irish. The No. 1 position was filled by David Simon and Viktor Maksimuk who were soundly defeated by Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu by an 8-2 count. Parbhu (106th) is one of only two other nationally-ranked BIG EAST singles players with USF’s Lucas Jovita (87th). Parbhu and Helgeson are the only members of the current roster to earn all Big-East recognition, with Parbhu earning both singles and doubles honors in 2007 and Helgeson earning the nod in singles in `06 and doubles in `07. The conference does not boast any ranked doubles team outside the Cardinal pair. Three former Irish players have won the tournament MVP award, as Ryan Sachire did so in 1999 and 2000, while Brent D’Amico captured it in 2005, and Stephen Bass won the award last year. Head coach Bob Bayliss has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year six times in the last ten years, including last season. He is again a leading candidate for the award in ’08, as the Irish are the highest-ranked squad in the conference.
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 45-10 (.818) all-time record against conference foes, including a 26-5 (.839) record in the BIG EAST tournament. Nine defeats had come against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2004, while the other loss came at the hands of Louisville in the 2006 final. Notre Dame has a 99-3 (.971) all-time record against current BIG EAST schools, having lost to Georgetown in 1962 and Louisville in the 2005 NCAA Tournament and 2006 BIG EAST Tournament. Following 60 years as an independent, the Irish were members of the Midwestern City Conference from 1982-83 to 1985-86, became and independent again for two seasons before competing in the MCC (then the Midwestern Collegiate Conference) again from 1988-89 to 1994-95 and then moving to the BIG EAST Conference beginning in 1995-96. In 22 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been league champs 13 times and won 16 consecutive matches against league foes from 1982-97.
ALL-TIME RECORDS AGAINST CURRENT BIG EAST TEAMS: See below Notre Dame’s all-time record against the current members of the conference.
School Record vs. BIG EAST Tournament LastConnecticut 1-0 1-0 1997 (BET)-W, 4-0DePaul 25-0 0-0 1998-W, 5-1Georgetown 6-1 3-0 2006 (BET)-W, 4-0Louisville 8-2 1-1 2008-W, 4-3Marquette 45-0 0-0 2005-W, 7-0Rutgers 6-0 6-0 2005 (BET)-W, 4-0St. John's 5-0 1-0 2007 (BET)-W, 4-0South Florida 2-0 1-0 2006 (BET)-W, 4-0Villanova 1-0 1-0 2007 (BET) W, 4-0Totals 99-3 17-1
PARBHU’S RUN ON THE RECORD BOOKS: Senior captain Sheeva Parbhu’s remarkable Irish career is coming to a close, but he will go down as one of the most decorated players in Notre Dame tennis history. Parbhu currently stands in the career top 10 in the following categories: singles wins (118, 5th), doubles wins (76, t-6th), combined wins (194, fourth), and singles dual match wins (72, t-9th). The 2006 All-American will look to lead the Irish to their 16th NCAA tournament in the last seventeen seasons.
FRESH FACES: The 2008 version of the Notre Dame men’s tennis team has seen its share of newcomers get significant playing time this spring. Freshmen Stephen Havens, David Anderson, and Daniel Stahl have been mainstays at the bottom of the Notre Dame singles lineup. The rookies have combined to post a 59-39 singles mark this season, including 30-27 in dual play. The freshman have accounted for nearly half (47%) of all of Notre Dame’s dual wins this season and their .602 winning percentage is better than the team’s overall .589 winning percentage. Stahl owns the best singles winning percentage on the team (.750) and is tied with Sheeva Parbhu for second most singles wins on the team (24). Freshman Tyler Davis has also been a mainstay in the Irish doubles lineup this season as he has posted a 20-12 record including 13-8 in dual play. He owns an 11-6 mark with fellow rookie Stephen Havens including 6-3 in spring duals.
THE HIGHS: Notre Dame began the season by winning seven of its eight matches including their best win of the year, a 4-3 victory at then-#15 Duke… Brett Helgeson began the season by winning his first 12 matches of the season and 17 of his first 18, and rose to 11th in the ITA singles rankings. The streak inlcuded a career-high singles win over Stephen Moneke of Ohio State who was ranked 2nd at the time of the match. It was the highest ranking of Helgeson’s career (previous high 60th). … Sheeva Parbhu earned a career-high singles win with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 defeat of #3 Dominic Inglot of Virginia…. Daniel Stahl has the longest active winning streak on the team, as the freshman has won five in a row including lone Irish wins in 6-1 defeats at the hands of Ohio State and Michigan….The Irish are 9-1 this season when they win the doubles point… Notre Dame won its first five 4-3 matches of the year, including four with the match tied at three.
THE LOWS: The Irish have dropped six of their last eight contests, and lost four straight to Tulsa, Boise State, Kentucky, and Ohio State. The streak was the longest losing streak for the team since 2003, the last time the Irish missed the NCAA tournament… On April 6, #63 William & Mary became the lowest ranked team to defeat the Irish since March 15, 2003 when the Irish fell to #68 Boise State…Notre Dame is 3-8 when they drop the doubles point, and have lost the last six times they have failed to earn the match’s initial point… The Irish have lost two of their last three 4-3 matches including both when the score was tied at three.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 21st year at Notre Dame with a 384-180 (.681) record, while his 38-year career mark stands at 666-274-1 (.709). 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 ten times, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on six 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 15 NCAA tournaments over the last 16 seasons. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time ITA Midwest Region coach of the year and 13-time conference coach of the year (six times in the last ten years in the BIG EAST, including 2004, `05, and `07). In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 13 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 19 times, won nine national ITA awards, and earned 19 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 13 to the NCAA doubles tournament.
SEVEN LOSSES HAVE COME TO TOP 15 TEAMS: Notre Dame is used to playing a diffcult schedule and this season is no different. The Irish are just 1-7 against teams ranked in the top 15 at the time of the match. Notre Dame posted a win over #15 Duke (4-3), and fell to #1 Virginia (5-2), #8 UCLA (4-0), #12 North Carolina (5-0), #13 Illinois (6-1), #8 Tulsa (4-0), #2 Ohio State (6-1), and #15 Michigan (6-1).
ND’S 25-MATCH WINNING STREAK AT HOME ENDS: Notre Dame had won 25 consecutive matches at home since falling 6-1 to #3 Illinois in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on March 17, 2005. The streak ended with a 5-2 loss at the hands of #1 Virginia on January 27. The school record home winning streak is 30 matches, running from 1957-61.
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, check the official athletic website, und.com. The website provides schedule and results information for varsity sports as well as game recaps and weekly releases . In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Ryan Kiefer at email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.