Senior Barry King.

#5 Irish To Play Host To NCAA First & Second Rounds This Weekend

2007 NCAA Tournament Notes in PDF Format
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May 9, 2007

2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship
Notre Dame, Ind. • Courtney Tennis Center

First Round – Friday, May 11
[No. 5 seed] #5 Notre Dame (24-3) vs. Butler (14-9), 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Live Scoring:

#32 Washington (24-3) vs. #38 Wisconsin (14-9), 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Live Scoring:

Second Round – Saturday, May 12
First Round Winners, 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Live Scoring:

#5 NOTRE DAME TO FACE BUTLER IN NCAA OPENING ROUND: The fifth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (24-3) will open action in the 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship on Friday at 11:00 a.m. (ET) by taking on Horizon League champion Butler (14-9) at the Courtney Tennis Center in South Bend. Washington (16-6) will take on Wisconsin (16-6) at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, with the winners meeting in Saturday’s second round at 3:00 p.m. Live scoring for all three matches will be available at

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and will host first and second round action for the first time since 2002. For the ninth year in a row, the NCAA Championship consists of a 64-squad team tournament with the field featuring 31 conference champions receiving automatic berths and 33 at-large entrants, selected by the NCAA. The first and second rounds of the team championship will be played at 16 campus sites from Friday-Sunday. The 16 remaining teams will advance to the national site, University of Georgia’s Dan McGill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., for the final four rounds, to be contested May 17-22. Since the current format was adopted, ND has been a Nos. 17-32 seed four times, previously losing in the second round in 2000 at UCLA, in the second round against Washington in `01 at Harvard, in the opening round vs. Louisville in `05 at Illinois and in the round of 16 against top-ranked Georgia last year.

Contested since 1883, the national championship was the National Intercollegiate Championship through 1945, with the winner based on point standings from individual singles and doubles play. The format stayed constant, but the tournament became the NCAA Championship in 1946 and remained unchanged for the next 30 years. In 1977, the NCAA Championship became a 20-team event with all teams picked on an at-large basis. In 1994, the event developed into a regional format with the top eight teams in the country and eight regional winners advancing to a bracket of 16, played at a national site. In 1999, the 64-team championship dropped the regional format and implemented first- and second-round matches at 16 campus sites for every team in the championship.

Notre Dame has qualified for the NCAA tournament in 16 of the last 17 seasons – a distinction matched by only 11 other Division I teams: Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA, and USC. Bayliss is one of only three Division I coaches – along with Georgia’s Manuel Diaz and Duke’s Jay Lapidus – to have led his current team to at least 16 NCAA bids in the last 17 years.

Most of the best results for Notre Dame since the team format was adopted in 1977 came in the program’s first four berths into the championship, reaching the round of 16 in 1991 and `94, the quarterfinals in `93 and losing to Stanford in the `92 NCAA title match. The Irish reached the round of 16 in both 2002 and `06. Notre Dame has won a pair of national titles, sharing the 1944 crown with Texas and Miami (Fla.) and earning another shared title with Tulane in 1959.

Notre Dame is 14-15 all-time in NCAA Championship play. The Irish are 9-11 in NCAA competition when playing away from home, including 3-1 when playing on the opponents’ home courts. Notre Dame beat Georgia 5-4 in the quarterfinals in 1992 in Athens, downed Harvard 4-0 in the first round in 2001 in Cambridge and upset No. 16 seed Texas A&M 4-2 a year ago in College Station, but lost 4-2 at UCLA in the 2000 second round. The Irish are 5-4 in tournament action in South Bend. Notre Dame advanced through the first two rounds of the tournament in 2002 — the last time the Irish hosted. Notre Dame is 4-10 against higher-ranked teams and 9-5 vs. lower-ranked squads in the NCAAs, as well as 1-0 against teams with the same national ranking. ND’s record by round is as follows: 4-3 in the round of 64, 2-2 in the round of 32, 3-4 in regional tournaments, 2-4 in the round of 16, 1-1 in the quarterfinals, 1-0 in the semifinals, 0-1 in the championship.

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 20th year at Notre Dame with a 368-168 (.677) record, while his 37-year career mark stands at 659-272-1 (.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 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 16 NCAA tournaments over the last 17 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 nine 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 18 times, won eight national ITA awards and earned 19 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 12 to the NCAA doubles tournament.

BASS REACHES CENTURY MARK: Notre Dame senior Stephen Bass reached quite a milestone earlier this season. The Bronxville, N.Y. native became the eighth player in Irish men’s tennis history to eclipse the 100 victory mark. Bass did so following his win over No. 45 Nick Rinks of Michigan State on March 28. Bass has since pushed his career record to 106-44 and ranks sixth all-time in Notre Dame history. With a deep run into the team and singles portion of the NCAA Tournament, he could catch Mark Schmidt (1990-93) for fifth place on the list (113). Bass has also racked up 68 career dual match wins, which ranks 10th on the Irish chart.

IRISH SENIORS CARRYING THE TORCH: Notre Dame’s senior quartet of Irackli Akhvlediani, Stephen Bass, Ryan Keckley and Barry King have been instrumental in the teams success this season. The group has recorded a combined record of 98-25 (.797) in 2006-07 and an even more impressive mark in dual matches going 59-9 (.868). Over their entire careers, Akhvlediani, Bass, Keckley and King have posted a 304-129 (.702) record.

TRENDS: See below some Irish trends in this dual-match season:

… Notre Dame has won the doubles point 18 times in 26 chances this season (doubles not contested in one match) and has gone on to win the match on each occasion when winning the doubles point.
… The Irish have a 5-3 record when losing the doubles point, having come back to defeat Wisconsin (5-2), Michigan (5-2), Tulsa (4-1), Alabama (4-1) and Illinois (5-2).
… Notre Dame has yet to play a 4-3 match in 2007. Of the 24 Irish victories this season, 13 have been either 7-0 or 4-0 and seven more have been 6-1 or 4-1.
… Notre Dame’s winningest position is No. 1 singles, where two Irish players – junior Sheeva Parbhu (2-0) and senior Stephen Bass (20-3) – have combined for an 22-3 record.
… Notre Dame is 21-0 this season when winning at No. 1 singles. Dating back to 2003-04, the Irish have won 45 consecutive matches when prevailing at No. 1. The last loss was a 4-3 defeat at Virginia Tech on April 4, 2004, which came despite 80th-ranked Luis Haddock defeating #57 Andreas Laulund 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1.
… Notre Dame is 15-0 this season when winning at No. 6 singles.
… Notre Dame is 14-0 this season when winning at No. 2 doubles.

ND-WASHINGTON REGULAR-SEASON RECAP: The eighth-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team extended its winning streak to five matches and ran their season record to 11-2 with a 6-1 win over No. 15 Washington on March 5.

Notre Dame captured the doubles point, then used suburb singles play to propel them to their first ever win over the Huskies in three all-time matches. The Irish won 11 of 13 singles sets to win in dominating fashion.

Junior Sheeva Parbhu rebounded from a doubles loss by making quick work of Husky southpaw Daniel Chu 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2. Parbhu dictated play from the start and did not allow the crafty Chu to establish any momentum. He won the last four games of each set and was the first off the court for Notre Dame.

Veteran Barry King put the Irish on the verge of victory with a decisive 6-3, 6-2 win over Derek Drabble at No. 5. The Irish senior won the match’s final five games to rebound from a 2-1 second set deficit.

Stephen Bass closed out the Huskies by defeating Alex Slovic 6-1, 6-4. Slovic was slowed in the first set after a rolled ankle in the second game brought out the trainer. He rebounded in the second, however, owning a 3-2 edge before Bass took control. The senior won four of the last five games to gain the final margin.

Brett Helgeson at No. 3 and Ryan Keckley at No. 4 recorded victories within a minute of each other to push the Irish advantage to 6-0. Helgeson was victorious over Andy Kuharszky 6-3, 7-5. The Irish sophomore had a chance to close the match at 5-4 in the second before he was broken by the Washington junior. Helgeson fought back, breaking Kuharszky at 5-5 and cashing in on his second chance to close out the match on his serve. Keckley fought off Patrik Fischer 6-3, 7-5. Up 4-3 in the second, Keckley seemed to be on his way to victory before Fischer earned a break and hold to gain a 5-4 edge. The Irish senior gutted out the last three games, however, taking them all to win the match.

Mike Ricks notched the only point for the Huskies with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Andrew Roth. Roth quickly won the first set before the Washington senior battled his way through the final two sets to upend the Irish veteran and prevent the shutout.

Helgeson and King got Notre Dame off to a strong start in doubles, winning easily at the No. 2 position over Fischer and Ricks. The teams held serve the first five games before the Irish earned a key break to take a 4-2 edge. An easy hold by King put the Irish ahead for good, and they cruised for an 8-4 victory. Helgeson and King are now 17-7 on the campaign and 9-3 in the spring dual season.

After splitting the first two games with the Husky duo of Drabble and Kuharszky at No. 3, Bass and Roth asserted themselves, taking the next five games to grab a 6-1 edge. The Huskies responded by winning three of the next four games to cut the lead to 7-5 before Bass came through with a clutch hold to clinch the doubles point for the Irish. The Irish duo ran their record to 10-4 on the season and 7-3 in dual play.

The No. 1 team of Keckley and Parbhu saw their record drop to 6-7 in dual meets and 20-8 overall following an 8-4 loss at the hands of Washington?s Chu and Slovic. The Huskies and Irish held serve each of the first seven games before a Husky break of Ryan Keckley gave Washington a 5-3 lead. Another Washington break at 7-4 sealed the match and closed doubles play.

ND-WISCONSIN REGULAR-SEASON RECAP: The No. 9 Notre Dame men’s tennis team went on the road to face a much-improved Wisconsin squad and walked away with an impressive 5-2 victory at at Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Feb. 11.

Wisconsin, fresh off its upset of No. 10 Miami, began the match on top.

Nolan Polley and Moritz Baumann beat the No. 11 duo of senior Ryan Keckley and junior Sheeva Parbhu at No. 1 doubles, 8-6.

Jeremy Sonkin and Lachezar Kasarov clinched the doubles point for Wisconsin with their victory over senior Barry King and sophomore Brett Helgeson at No. 2 doubles, 8-5.

Practically every singles match was a toss up between the Badgers and Notre Dame, but the Irish were able to pull out five of the six contests.

Helgeson and King each picked up straight-set victories at No. 3 and No. 5 singles, respectively. Helgeson knocked off Baumann, 6-4, 7-6 (3), for his sixth consecutive victory.

King held off Dierberger, 6-3, 7-5, for his team-high tying 16th singles victory.

Parbhu and Keckley each dropped the opening set in matches at No. 2 and No. 4, but each rallied for three-set wins. Parbhu won 5-7, 6-0, 6-1 over Polley. Keckley remained undefeated in dual action (6-0) with his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Kasarov.

At No. 1, senior Stephen Bass cruised past Sonkin in the opening set, 6-1, and led 1-0 in the second when Sonkin was forced to retire due to a back injury.

Felipe Bellido notched the Badgers lone singles win, coming back from a first set loss to defeat junior Andrew Roth, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 44-10 (.815) all-time record against conference foes, including a 26-5 (.839) record in the BIG EAST tournament. Prior to the 2006 season (when Louisville upset the Irish in the BIG EAST final), all nine defeats had come against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2004. Notre Dame has a 98-3 (.970) 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 21 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been league champs 12 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  7-2          1-1                    2007 (BET)-W, 4-0Marquette   45-0         0-0                    2005-W, 7-0Rutgers         6-0          6-0                    2005 (BET)-W, 4-0St. John's  5-0          4-0                    2007 (BET)-W, 4-0South Florida   2-0          1-0                    2006 (BET)-W, 4-0Villanova   1-0          1-0                    2007 (BET)-W, 4-0Totals          98-3         17-1

IRISH ONE OF 12 TEAMS TO HAVE BEEN IN 16+ NCAA TOURNAMENTS SINCE 1991: Since making its first appearance under the current format in 1991, Notre Dame has missed the NCAA Championship just once (2003). Only 11 other Division I schools have qualified for 16 or more NCAA tournaments in the last 17 seasons: Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA and USC.

14 NOTRE DAME OPPONENTS EARN NCAA BIDS: Of Notre Dame’s 27 matches this spring, over half of them (14) earned berths in the NCAA Championship: Auburn, Florida State (No. 16 seed), Virginia (No. 4 seed), Washington, Wisconsin, Pepperdine, Texas A&M-CC, Texas (No. 11 seed), Alabama, Duke (No. 14 seed), Michigan, Illinois (No. 10 seed), Tulsa and Ohio State (No. 2 seed). The Irish went 11-3 against those teams.

ND FIFTH IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: Despite cruising through the BIG EAST Tournament (three 4-0 victories), Notre Dame remained fifth in the latest ITA Rankings, released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on April 30. The Irish started the season 13th and had risen in 10 consecutive polls before slipping from fifth on March 27 to sixth on April 3. Notre Dame has been listed in each of the last 271 sets of ITA national rankings, dating back to March 2, 1990. In all, 19 of Notre Dame’s 27 opponents are listed among the 75 teams in this week’s rankings, with 10 of them in the top 25: #2 Ohio State (L, 7-0), #3 Virginia (L, 6-1), #10 Illinois (W, 5-2), #11 Texas (W, 4-1), #14 Duke (W, 6-1), #16 Florida State (W, 5-2), #17 Alabama (W, 4-1), #18 Tulsa (W, 4-1), #20 Pepperdine (L, 4-2) and #21 Michigan (W, 5-2).

ALL OF ND’S LOSSES TO TEAMS CURRENTLY IN TOP 20: All three of Notre Dame’s defeats have come against teams ranked among the top 20 in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings. In fact, all three were ranked in the top 10 at the match of those respective matches. Virginia (2nd) and Ohio State (3rd) are each currently ranked among the top three in the nation.

IRISH IN INDIVIDUAL ITA RANKINGS: Two singles players and two Irish doubles teams were listed in the latest individual national rankings, released April 30. Senior Stephen Bass leads the way at eighth in singles, with junior Sheeva Parbhu at 59th. In doubles, senior Ryan Keckley is ranked with two different partners, appearing at 28th with Bass and 31st with Parbhu.

KECKLEY EARNS TOP-20 RANKING WITH FIFTH DIFFERENT PARTNER: Notre Dame senior Ryan Keckley – 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 six different partners, having earned a top-20 listing with five. He is currently listed 28th with senior Stephen Bass, despite the tandem only teaming up for the past month. Keckley is also ranked 31st with junior Sheeva Parbhu – after being as high as 7th on March 20. Keckley – who earned a national ranking in singles for the first time on March 21 of last season (115th) – was first listed 18th with graduated Luis Haddock following the fall of the 2003-04 season and then switched partners and peaked at 14th with departed Brent D’Amico later that spring. He has also been ranked as a tandem with senior teammate Barry King and graduated Eric Langenkamp.

ND GOES UNDEFEATED AT HOME FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE SEASON: After failing to finish an entire season (including both fall and spring) undefeated at home for 32 straight years, Notre Dame completed its second consecutive year perfect at home. The Irish won all won all nine of its home matches this spring, with none of those contests even being decided by a 4-3 score. Prior to last season (when Notre Dame went 8-0 in South Bend), the last time the Irish went unbeaten in the spring at home was during the 1991-92 season – which saw Notre Dame advance all the way to the title match of the NCAAs. But USC got an exhibition win at ND in the fall of that campaign, so the previous squad to truly go an entire season without tasting a home defeat was the ’73-74 unit that was 11-0 at home and 18-2 overall.

ND 7-3 AGAINST TOP-25 TEAMS: Notre Dame’s success has seen the Irish take on 10 squads ranked in the national top 25 at the time of the match. The Irish have wins against #8 Illinois (5-2), #8 Duke (6-1), #13 Florida State (5-2), #14 Alabama (4-1), #15 Washington (6-1), #18 Texas (4-1) and #22 Michigan (5-2). Their only defeats came against #3 Ohio State (7-0), #8 Virginia (6-1) and #10 Pepperdine (4-2).

ND BOASTING 21-MATCH WINNING STREAK AT HOME: Notre Dame has won 21 consecutive matches at home since falling 6-1 to #3 Illinois in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on March 17, 2005. 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, 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 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 Michael Bertsch at, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.

— ND —