Jan. 23, 2005
MADISON, Wis. – The 34th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (4-0) did not lose a set in singles en route to registering a 6-1 road victory against Wisconsin (1-1) Sunday afternoon at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Irish stand 4-0 for the first time since 1997, and the victory was the 999th in the 83-year varsity history of the program. Notre Dame will try to become just the sixth Division I program with 1,000 all-time wins, when it welcomes #18 North Carolina to the Eck Tennis Pavilion next Saturday for a 2 p.m. (EST) match.
The Irish dropped the doubles point in a tiebreaker in the final match on court, but then came back to sweep the singles, including losing two games or fewer in nine of the 12 sets.
“I was really proud of the way we responded today,” said Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “It was a very highly-charged atmosphere during the doubles, so when they won, it was a real surge of momentum for them. I was happy with the way we handled that, coming out in singles and getting the job done.”
Senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) scored Notre Dame’s first point, defeating Mark Weinig 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3 to improve to 9-3 on the season. He has not dropped a set in three matches this fall and has now won 13 in a row when taking the opening set. D’Amico also improved to 20-11 in his career at No. 3 singles and 22-11 against Midwest Region opponents.
Sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) was second off the court, topping Felipe Bellido of Peru 6-2, 6-0 at No. 5. After playing in just one dual match as a rookie, he has not dropped a set in four contests this spring to improve to 17-5 on the season. The native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, who has now won eight in a row, is 5-0 in his career in dual-match play, as well as 14-4 in road contests. He is 15-1 when winning the first set this season and 11-2 vs. the Midwest Region.
Freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) put his team within a point of victory by downing Elliot Bisnow 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4. He is now 15-4 on the season, including 15-1 when winning the first set.
After having three clinching victories prior to this weekend during his entire career, junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) provided the match-clinching point for the second day in a row, this time by beating Brian Ko 6-2, 6-3 at No. 6. He holds the team lead in singles victories with a 19-2 record this season, including 16 wins in his last 17 contests (the lone loss coming against #23 Jakub Praibis of Indiana). He has won seven straight and is now 13-1 on the road this season and 29-13 in his career. Buchanan has now won 27 consecutive matches when claiming the first set, and he is 11-1 indoors in 2004-05 (28-11 career). The junior also improved to 13-1 against the Midwest Region this season and 27-12 in his career.
After the outcome was determined, sophomore Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), ranked 77th in the nation in singles, beat Alex Kasarov of Bulgaria 7-5, 6-2 at No. 1. He is now 3-1 this spring as the first sophomore since 1998 (Ryan Sachire) to play No. 1 for the Irish and 13-4 overall this season. Bass has a career record of 35-11, including 19-6 in dual action. He has now won 18 in a row when winning the first set, standing 25-1 overall. Bass also holds career records of 17-8 on the road and 22-10 indoors, as well as a 17-7 record vs. regional foes.
In the final match on court – a slugfest between two big baseliners – 113th-ranked sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) beat Jeremy Sonkin 7-5, 6-2 at No. 2. The Irishman is 10-4 on the season, including 6-1 in road matches. He has won 15 in a row when winning the first set and is 26-2 during his career in that situation. King is 8-2 indoors this season and 15-7 against the Midwest Region as a collegian.
The doubles came down to a tiebreaker at the No. 1 position, where Kasarov and his brother, Lachezar, prevailed 9-8 (8-6) over D’Amico and sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.). The Irish team has won just once in four career tiebreakers together.
Notre Dame captured the quickest doubles match, with Parbhu and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) defeating Bisnow and Sonkin 8-6. The Irish pair is 5-2 this season. At No. 3, Weinig and Jordan Raemisch notched an 8-6 win against Bass and King
The Irish have now won 14 straight against the Badgers, including seven in a row in Madison.
Notre Dame last opened with four consecutive victories in 1996-97, when the Irish started 6-0 en route to a 19-6 record and a final national ranking of 16th.
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6, Wisconsin Badgers 1
No. 1: #77 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Alex Kasarov (W) 7-5, 6-2
No. 2: #113 Barry King (ND) def. Jeremy Sonkin (W) 7-5, 6-2
No. 3: Brent D’Amico (ND) def. Mark Weinig (W) 6-1, 6-2
No. 4: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Elliot Bisnow (W) 6-2, 6-2
No. 5: Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Felipe Bellido (W) 6-2, 6-0
No. 6: *Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Brian Ko (W) 6-2, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 5, 4, 6*, 1, 2
No. 1: *A. Kasarov/Lachezar Kasarov (W) def. D’Amico/Ryan Keckley (ND) 9-8 (8-6)
No. 2: Eric Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) def. Bisnow/Sonkin (W) 8-6
No. 3: Jordan Raemisch/Weinig (W) def. S. Bass/King (ND) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1*