Oct. 30, 2004
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Notre Dame rookie Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) upset the 31st-ranked player in the nation Friday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium to reach the quarterfinals of the A flight of the Crimson Tide Fall Championships. The freshman highlighted a strong day for the Irish, in which they went 8-3 in singles despite playing without four of their top six players.
Parbhu continued his impressive opening semester of play by first defeating Georgia Tech’s Scott Blackmon 6-3, 6-2 before upsetting the tournament’s top seed, #31 Derrick Spice of Wake Forest, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. Spice was the Demon Deacons’ No. 1 player last spring, earning an invitation to the NCAA Singles Championship.
The Notre Dame rookie now stands 11-3, with two of his defeats coming against nationally-ranked foes. Parbhu had failed to win a set – or more than four games in any – in his two previous collegiate contests vs. ranked foes before becoming the fourth Irish player to record his first career win against a ranked player this fall.
This is the third consecutive tournament – all of which contained various nationally-ranked competitors – in which Parbhu has turned in an eye-opening performance. He defeated two established players and a talented rookie en route to advancing to the semifinals of the Midland Invitational earlier this month. Parbhu then was one of only two freshmen to comprise the final 16 in last week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Championships.
Notre Dame also had great success in the C flight, as senior Jimmy Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) will meet in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Bass remained perfect on the year by first beating Arizona’s Tim Mulane 6-4, 7-5 and then rallying for a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 upset over one of the Nos. 5-8 seeds, Reid Bourgeois of Southern Mississippi. The Notre Dame senior is unbeaten in seven matches this fall, and he has now won 11 consecutive matches, dating back more than 13 months. He holds a career record of 16-4.
Buchanan, the C flight’s top seed, also has been hot this season, and he continued that with a 6-0, 6-4 triumph against Johnny Griffee of Samford in the round of 16. He now stands 13-2, and the victory was the 40th of his career (to go with 22 defeats and two abandoned matches), the most by any active Notre Dame player. He has won 21 consecutive contests in which he has prevailed in the opening set, and he holds a 36-10 career mark in that situation. He has won nine of 10 matches away from Notre Dame this fall.
In the B flight, freshman Yuichi Uda (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Laurel Springs School [CA]) is still alive. He got a walkover in the opening round and then upset one of the Nos. 5-8 seeds, RJ Murray of Alabama, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Uda is now 5-2 in his first collegiate fall.
Another of the Nos. 5-8 seeds in the B flight, Irish junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.), beat Jacksonville State’s Andres Amores 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round before losing 6-4, 6-2 against Georgia Tech’s Mark Rajevac.
Sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) lost his first-round affair against yet another Nos. 5-8 seed, Alabama’s Billy Mertz (6-3, 6-2), but he then claimed a consolation win gainst Maurico Engler of Birmingham Southern 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
Notre Dame’s doubles struggles continued, as all three of its entries were defeated in the opening round.
The Crimson Tide Fall Championships consist of three flights in both singles and doubles that have attracted players from 18 schools across the nation. The event features the dedication of the University of Alabama’s new facility, the 12-court Alabama Tennis Stadium. The competition also is Notre Dame’s first trip to Tuscaloosa since former Irish assistant Billy Pate became the Tide’s head coach. Pate spent two seasons with the Irish (2000-02), helping Notre Dame to a pair of top-20 finishes and being named ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in the latter.
Crimson Tide Fall Championships
A Flight – First Round
Sheeva Parbhu (Notre Dame) def. Scott Blackmon (Georgia Tech) 6-3, 6-2
A Flight – Round of 16
Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def.  #31 Derrick Spice (Wake Forest) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3
B Flight – First Round
[5-8] Billy Mertz (Alabama) def. Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) 6-3, 6-2
[5-8] Eric Langenkamp (ND) vs. Andres Amores (Jacksvonville State) 6-3, 6-3
Marek Dvorak (Colorado) def. Andrew Roth (ND) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
B Flight – Round of 16
Mark Rajevac (Georgia Tech) def. [5-8] Eric Langenkamp (ND) 6-4, 6-2
Yuichi Uda (ND) def. [5-8] RJ Murray (Alabama) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
B Flight – Consolation
Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Maurico Engler (Birmingham Southern) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
C Flight – First Round
Jimmy Bass (ND) def. Tim Mulane (Arizona) 6-4, 7-5
C Flight – Round of 16
 Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Johnny Griffee (Samford) 6-0, 6-4
Jimmy Bass (ND) def. [5-8] Reid Bourgeois (Southern Mississippi) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
A Flight – First Round
 #16 Brett Ross/Derrick Spice (Wake Forest) def. Langenkamp/ Parbhu (ND) 8-4
 Luigi D’Agord/Eric Molnar (Alabama) def. Buchanan/Roth (ND) 8-1
C Flight – Quarterfinals
Marc-oliver Lux/Dylan Mezey (Southern Mississippi) def. J. Bass/Uda (ND) 8-4
Note: Seedings are in brackets preceding national rankings, which precede names.