March 14, 2008
The 30th ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team waited out the thunderstorms Friday, but were eventually done in by the Golden Hurricane, dropping the first four singles matches to Tulsa.
Morning rain in Montgomery forced all matches to be pushed back to this afternoon. In the interest of time, the decision was made to play singles first, and doubles only if it was necessary.
Tulsa, the highest-ranked team in this year’s Blue-Gray field at #8, jumped out quickly in singles play, winning five of six first sets. Three matches went the way of the Golden Hurricane in straight sets, and a three-set win at No. 6 clinched the win for the Tulsa.
41st-ranked Arnau Brugues upset #17 Brett Helgeson in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. The first set was decided by a single break and the second was also tightly contested, but the Notre Dame junior could not break through. The loss was only the sixth of the season for Helgeson, and second in his last three matches. It was just the third time this season that Helgeson fell to a lower-ranked singles player.
Stephen Havens fell for the second straight day at No. 4, this time dropping a 6-4, 6-2 decsion to Tulsa senior Will Gray. Havens has dropped three matches in a row for the first time in his Notre Dame career. Despite the loss, the freshman owns a 16-13 record and has the fourth most singles wins on the team.
Andrew Roth could not overcome Viktor Kolik at No. 3, falling to the Tulsa senior by a 6-3, 7-5 count. The loss was the second in as many days for the Irish senior who saw his record fall to 7-12.
Thursday’s hero Tyler Davis found himself in a three-set match once again Friday, but could not duplicate his success from a day earlier. After dropping the first set 7-5 to Ross Cunningham, the Notre Dame rookie evened the match with a 6-3 win in the second. The final set was decided by a single break, and went to Cunningham by a 6-4 score, clinching the match for Tulsa.
Sheeva Parbhu and Daniel Stahl did not complete their matches as the team match was decided before their singles contests were finished. Parbhu dropped the first set in a tie-breaker to Ricardo Soriano, but had a 4-3 lead in the second when the match was called. Stahl was in a tight contest with Alberto Sottocorno as the two were tied 3-3 in the third set. Stahl took the first set 6-4 before the Tulsa senior responded with a 6-4 win in the second.
Notre Dame will face Boise State Saturday in a consolation match. It will be Notre Dame’s final match of the tournament. Tulsa advances to the Blue-Gray semifinals where they will face Penn State, who upset Boise State Friday. First serve for the Irish against the Broncos is set for 11:00 a.m. CT.