April 23, 2005
TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and 35th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (18-7) beat Rutgers (8-9) 4-0 Saturday morning at the University of South Florida to give the Irish back-to-back BIG EAST Conference championships for the first time since joining the league 10 years ago. Notre Dame won the doubles point and notched three quick singles victories – losing four games or fewer in each match – to extend its winning streak in the BIG EAST tournament to eight matches.
The win gave Notre Dame an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, which begins May 13-15 at campus sites. The full 64-team draw will be announced on Wednesday, May 5, on ESPNews.
It was the fifth BIG EAST title for the Irish in the decade since being a BIG EAST school, having also claimed championships in 1996, ’99, 2002, and ’04.
Sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) was a double winner for Notre Dame, while senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) provided the match-clinching victory and junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) also turned in a singles triumph. Sophomores Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph H.S.) and Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) were victorious in doubles.
Keckley and King were done first in doubles, downing Matthew Fawcett and Jonathan Wanano 8-2 at No. 2. They are 5-1 since becoming a team last month.
For the second day in a row, Bass and Parbhu clinched the doubles point, this time topping Raphael Goldwaser and Arjun Vaidya 8-2 at No. 3. They have now won four consecutive matches.
The other doubles match was on serve when it was abandoned, with Tyler Deming and Gordi Milchutsky of Rutgers up 5-4 against D’Amico and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) at No. 1.
First done in singles was King, who is ranked 114th in the nation. He defeated Fawcett 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 to complete a tournament in which he lost just five total games in claiming a pair of victories. He is 26-9 on the season, including 19-6 in dual action. King is 6-1 in his career against the BIG EAST.
Buchanan put the Irish within a point of victory, downing Robert Baggio 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 in a match that saw the Notre Dame junior break serve in all seven of his return games. Buchanan got a victory after just missing out on one on Friday, when he had a match point at 5-3, but saw his match abandoned with him serving at 5-4. He moved to 29-9 this season, including 13-7 in dual action.
D’Amico finished it off by beating Milchutsky 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2. With the win, he became the first Irish player ever to complete a four-year career without experiencing a team loss in the BIG EAST Championship. The Notre Dame co-captain helped his squad to titles in 2002, ’04 and ’05, while the ’03 team won a pair of matches to get to the final before it was rained out without a winner declared. He has now won three consecutive matches to improve to 16-13 this season after having dropped five straight before that.
Sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) was on his way to a victory, up 6-4, 4-2 against the Frenchman, Wanano, at No. 5 when D’Amico made his match irrelevant.
Notre Dame was up a set in both of the other abandoned matches, as well. Bass was up 6-3, 2-2 against Deming at No. 1, while Parbhu led 6-3, 1-2 vs. Vaidya of India at No. 4.
The Irish improved to 6-0 all-time against Rutgers, with all of the meetings decided by 4-0 scores in the BIG EAST tournament. Notre Dame also won its 20th consecutive match against current members of the conference, as well as its 21st straight vs. unranked teams.
[No. 1 seed] #35 Notre Dame 4, [No. 3 seed] Rutgers 0SinglesNo. 1: Stephen Bass (ND) led Tyler Deming (RU) 6-3, 2-2, abandonedNo. 2: Brent D'Amico (ND) def. Gordi Milchutsky (RU) 6-1, 6-3No. 3: #114 Barry King (ND) def. Matthew Fawcett (RU) 6-1, 6-0No. 4: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) led Arjun Vaidya (RU) 6-3, 1-2, abandonedNo. 5: Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) led Jonathan Wanano (RU) 6-4, 4-2, abandonedNo. 6: Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Robert Baggio (RU) 6-1, 6-1Order of Finish: 3, 6, 2*DoublesNo. 1: Deming/Milchutsky (RU) led D'Amico/Eric Langenkamp (ND) 5-4, abandonedNo. 2: Ryan Keckley/King (ND) def. Fawcett/Wanano (RU) 8-2No. 3: S. Bass/Parbhu (ND) def. Goldwaser/Vaidya (RU) 8-2Order of Finish: 2, 3*