April 3, 2005
DALLAS, Texas – Playing shorthanded in singles due to a few injuries, the 29th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (15-6) dropped two of three three-set affairs in losing 5-2 to #46 Southern Methodist (11-9) Sunday afternoon at Haggar Tennis Stadium. The Irish won the doubles point, but then got just one victory in singles, a three-set triumph from freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) at No. 3. Notre Dame will play its final home match of the season on Saturday, when it welcomes #61 Ball State for a 1 p.m. (EST) contest.
The Irish won the bottom two matches to take the doubles point, but senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) suffered a slight injury that forced him to sit out the singles portion, in which he normally plays in the No. 2 position. With the remainder of the lineup shifting up a spot, junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) would have been scheduled to fill the No. 6 position, but he also was sidelined due to injury.
Despite being without two of their top seven players, the Irish had an opportunity to prevail, as they were still alive – trailing 3-1 – with just the trio of three-setters left on the court. SMU freshman David Kuczer of Poland came through for the Mustangs, notching a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 6 over Notre Dame sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph H.S.), who suffered cramping late due to the 80-degree heat.
Parbhu finally gave Notre Dame a singles victory by defeating sophomore Federico Murgier of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 3. The Irish rookie leads the team in both overall singles victories (28-7 record), as well as wins in dual-match action (16-3). He has won three in a row and improved to 2-0 when competing at the No. 3 spot.
The other three-setter came down to a final-set tiebreak, in which senior Gwinyai Chingoka of Zimbabwe beat Notre Dame sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) to complete a comeback 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 triumph at No. 2.
Parbhu was a double winner on the day, as he and sophomore Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) prevailed 8-4 at No. 3 in doubles against Chingoka and Kuczer. It was the first victory in three matches since the two were first paired together last month.
Keckley and King also came through in doubles, claiming an 8-5 triumph at No. 2 against two Swedes, Peter Oredsson and Henrik Soderberg. That Irish duo is unbeaten in three matches as a team this season.
SMU senior Paul McNaughton, the only American in the Mustangs lineup, registered a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Bass at No. 1 singles. McNaughton played the first half of his collegiate career at Notre Dame, compiling a 7-7 (0-0 dual) singles record and 12-22 (6-11 dual) doubles mark before becoming just the third player in the 18-year tenure of head coach Bob Bayliss to transfer.
Oredsson notched a 6-3, 6-4 victory against sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) at No. 4. The other straight-set win came from Soderberg, who beat junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5.
SMU evened the all-time series between the schools at 3-3 and continued the trend of home-team dominance, as no visiting squad has been able to prevail since the latest incarnation of the series began in 2001.
#46 SMU 5, #29 Notre Dame 2
No. 1: Paul McNaughton (SMU) d. Stephen Bass (ND) 6-2, 6-3
No. 2: Gwinyai Chingoka (SMU) d. Barry King (ND) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6
No. 3: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) d. Federico Murgier (SMU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
No. 4: Peter Oredsson (SMU) d. Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) 6-3, 6-4
No. 5: Henrik Soderberg (SMU) d. Patrick Buchanan (ND) 6-3, 6-3
No. 6: David Kuczer (SMU) d. Ryan Keckley (ND) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
No. 1: McNaughton/Murgier (SMU) d. Brent D’Amico/Eric Langenkamp (ND) 8-4
No. 2: Keckley/King (ND) d. Oredsson/Soderberg (SMU) 8-5
No. 3: S. Bass/Parbhu (ND) d. Chingoka/Kuczer (SMU) 8-4