Senior Barry King.

Challenging Weekend Awaits No. 9 Irish Men's Tennis

Feb. 22, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 9 Notre Dame men’s tennis team returns home this weekend to face a pair of nationally ranked Midwest region opponents. The Irish will meet No. 22 Michigan on Friday at 4:00 p.m. and then play No. 45 Northwestern on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Notre Dame (8-2) enters the weekend with a victory in eight of its last nine matches. The Irish went 2-1 last weekend at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Notre Dame opened the tournament with a 4-2 loss against #10 Pepperdine, but then defeated #67 Penn (4-0) and #18 Texas (4-1). The victory over the Longhorns was the first for the Irish over Texas since 1993 — snapping a 10-match losing streak.

Notre Dame remained steady at No. 9 in the latest edition of the ITA team rankings, but the Irish did have some movement in both singles and doubles. Senior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, NY) moved up from #14 to #11, while junior Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) rose from #30 to #27. Sophomore Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, KS), ranked #94, made his first appearance in the top 100 this season. The doubles team of senior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, IN) and Parbhu also ascended into the top 10. Ranked #11 in the previous edition, Keckley and Parbhu moved into the #9 spot.

Bass (19-8 overall, 8-2 in dual matches) leads Notre Dame in overall singles victories with 19. Fellow senior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland) is second on the Irish with an 18-6 record (7-2 in dual matches). Parbhu is 17-8 overall and 7-2 in dual matches, while Helgeson is 15-5 overall and 7-2 in dual matches. Keckley (14-3 overall and 7-1 in dual matches) has the top winning percentage on the team (.824).

Michigan (7-1) opened its season with six consecutive victories, including wins over then No. 12 Texas (5-2), Harvard and William & Mary. The Wolverines dropped their first and only match of the season at No. 4 Virginia, 5-2, on Feb. 10. In its last outing, Michigan knocked off No. 45 Northwestern, 5-2, on Feb. 18.

Matko Maravic leads the Wolverines with a 16-5 overall record and 7-1 mark in dual matches. Andrew Mazlin (14-4) is second on the team in victories with 14 and has posted a 6-1 mark in dual action. Maravic and Brian Hung combine to make one of the top doubles teams in the country. The duo is ranked #3 in the most recent poll with a 15-3 overall record and 7-1 in dual matches.

No. 45 Northwestern (5-6) has dropped its last three matches, including a pair against top 25 foes. The Wildcats have faced quite a difficult schedule this spring, including No. 4 Mississippi, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 22 Michigan, No. 28 Wake Forest, No. 44 Penn State and No. 47 San Diego.

— ND —