April 18, 2008
For the second straight year, the Notre Dame men’s tennis team had no trouble eliminating Villanova from the Big East Tournament as the top-seeded Irish downed the eight-seeded Wildcats 4-0 Friday morning in Tampa. The Irish (13-10) won consecutive matches for the first time since February and will face the fifth-seeded Blue Demons of DePaul tomorrow at noon in semifinal play.
The doubles point went the way of the Irish for just the eleventh time this season. The Irish earned wins at the bottom two spots in the doubles lineup to gain the early 1-0 advantage. Santiago Montoya and Andrew Roth downed Trenton Alenik and John Drosick 8-3 to earn their sixth win of the spring. The duo is now 7-4 on the year and won for the second time in as many matches.
The other doubles win came from the freshman duo of Stephen Havens and Tyler Davis who breezed to an 8-1 win over Alex Lesser and David Sheehan. At 12-6, the team has the best doubles winning percentage on the team and the second most wins. They are also 7-3 in dual play this spring.
The top team of Sheeva Parbhu and Brett Helgeson were well ahead of Brian Maher and Dimitri Chimerakas at 7-3 when the point was clinched. With the win, Notre Dame ran its record to 10-1 this season when they win the doubles point.
Singles play quickly turned to the top-seeded Irish as Notre Dame dropped just six games in the three matches that contributed to the team score. Helgeson and Parbhu were dominant in the top two positions, as the junior and 46th ranked Helgeson soundly defeated Chimerakas 6-1, 6-1 at the top singles position, while the senior captain Parbhu earned his own 6-1, 6-1 win over Maher. Helgeson won for the 27th time this season, and continues to have the most wins on the team. He also improved his dual mark to 12-9. Meanwhile, Parbhu earned his 25th win of the year and team-leading 15th win of spring dual season.
Stephen Havens earned the other singles win for Notre Dame Friday, a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Sheehan at No. 4. The freshman is now 19-18 on the season and is just one victory away from becoming the fourth member of the team to earn twenty singles wins this season. Havens is now 10-13 on the dual season and is the fourth member of the team to earn double-digit singles wins.
Freshman Daniel Stahl was poised to make it six wins in a row at No.6, but his match with Lesser was halted at 6-1, 6-1. Notre Dame also led at the No. 3 position where Roth had vaulted to a 5-4 lead over Alenik.
Notre Dame advances to face fifth-seeded DePaul in the semifinals tomorrow at noon. The Blue Demons upset fourth-seeded Marquette Friday. The Irish have never lost to DePaul and have a 25-0 all-time record against the Blue Demons. The schools have not met since a 5-1 Irish win in 1998.