Oct. 13, 2005
The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s tennis teams will continue the tradition of “The Battle Before the War,” as they play host to the University of Southern California in concurrent dual matches on Friday in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Play begins in full force at 4 p.m. (EST/CDT) with Nos. 4-6 singles, while the three doubles matches will be played at 7 p.m., and Nos. 1-3 singles to follow. The Nos. 7 and 8 singles matches will be played at 2 p.m.
The matches will be exhibitions and will not count in the teams’ 2005-06 dual-match records, but all individual results will be official and will count for ranking purposes.
LIVE SCORING: There will be semi-live scoring of both ND-USC matches available on Notre Dame’s official athletics website, und.com. Scores are updated every 10-20 minutes.
ND-USC SERIES NOTES-MEN: This will be the seventh time that the teams have played in men’s tennis on the eve of the football game at Notre Dame, with the Irish having won in 2001 by a 5-2 score against a Trojan team that would go on to claim the national championship. USC has prevailed in each of the other meetings: in 1989 (5-4), ’91 (6-3), ’93, ’99 (4-3), and ’03 (5-2). The Trojans also hold a 7-1 advantage in official matches, but the one Notre Dame triumph was a huge one. That came in the semifinals of the 1992 NCAA Championship, when the Irish knocked off #1-ranked USC by a 5-4 score.
ND-USC SERIES NOTES-WOMEN: This will be the fourth consecutive time that the teams have played in women’s tennis on the eve of the football game at Notre Dame, with the Irish taking the most-recent meeting (4-3 in 2003) after dropping the two prior to that (5-4 in 1999; 5-2 in 2001). Notre Dame also leads the series of official matches – which began only in ’99 – by a 2-1 count.
ND MEN BOAST FOUR RANKED SINGLES PLAYERS: After going through most of 2004-05 with one or no players in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national singles rankings, Notre Dame placed four in the preseason edition for 2005-06, released earlier this fall. Junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) leads the way at a career-high 74th, while three Irish student-athletes earned their first-ever collegiate singles rankings: sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) at 77th, senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) at 89th, and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) at 108th. Notre Dame is one of just eight schools to have at least four players in the national singles rankings, joining Virginia (7 players ranked), Illinois (6), Florida (5), Duke (4), Miami (4), and Texas (4). It is the first time the Irish have had a quartet appearing in the singles rankings since the first set of spring rankings in the 2001-02 campaign, which featured five ND players. That listing had Javier Taborga at 23rd, Matthew Scott at 51st, Casey Smith at 94th, Aaron Talarico at 107th, and Andrew Laflin at 136th. Bass is the highest-ranked Irish player since Luis Haddock concluded his career at 74th at the end of the 2003-04 season. Helgeson is just the third Irish freshman ever to hold a national ranking in singles and just the second to do so in the preseason edition of his first season. In addition, Barry King was among nine players listed as having “insufficient data” in order to be ranked, as he will not compete collegiately this fall.
TWO ND WOMEN’S SINGLES PLAYERS, A PAIR OF DOUBLES TEAMS EARN PRESEASON NATIONAL RANKINGS: Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were listed #2 in doubles to lead the Notre Dame contingent represented in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason national singles and doubles rankings, released earlier this fall. Catrina Thompson, at 27th, and sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School), at 54th, both earned career-best rankings in singles, while Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) — formerly the #1-ranked doubles team in juniors action — were 60th in doubles. Notre Dame is one of just nine schools (along with California, Florida, Georgia, Northwestern, Pepperdine, USC, Stanford, and TCU) to feature both two ranked doubles teams and two of the top 55 players in singles. The Irish have multiple players among the top 55 in the nation for the first time since the first set of spring rankings in 1998-99, when current assistant coach Michelle Dasso was eighth, Becky Varnum was 47th, and Jennifer Hall came in 54th. The Thompsons, who became the first ND team ever to be ranked #1 last spring, are behind only another team of juniors, Caroline Basu of Germany and Shadisha Robinson, the University of Georgia team that ended last season ranked #1 and with a 25-3 record.
RANKED TROJANS: The Trojans, who finished last season ranked 21st and dropped a 4-3 match in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament, have two singles players and one doubles team listed in the preseason edition of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings. Junior Jamil Al-Agba is seventh in singles, while sophomore Kaes Van’t Hof is 124th. Those two are 38th in doubles.
RANKED WOMEN OF TROY: USC, which reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament last spring and finished ranked #7, has five singles players and two doubles teams listed in the preseason edition of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason rankings. Sophomore Lindsey Nelson leads the way at ninth while junior Anca Anastasiu of South Africa is 28th, junior Dianne Matias is 60th, senior Luana Magnani is 74th, and senior Carine Vermeulen of South Africa is 91st. In doubles, the two South Africans are ranked 22nd, and the team of Matias and Nelson is 43rd.
THOMPSONS DELIVER ND’S FIRST-EVER COLLEGIATE GRAND SLAM TITLE: Notre Dame junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) saved two match points in the final en route to winning the doubles title in the season’s first grand slam, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, contested earlier this month. The Thompsons, ranked #2 in the nation, won 8-0 in the opening round of the main draw against the team ranked seventh nationally, then won 9-7 over the #6 team in the quarters before defeating the third-ranked squad 8-1 in the semifinals. In the final, the Notre Dame sisters prevailed 9-8 (9-7) vs. Fresno State’s Lucia Sainz and Katharina Winterhalter. The Thompsons became the first team from any school ever to reach the final of the All-Americans two straight years and come away with a title. They also are the first set of twins ever to claim that doubles title.
PROTECTING PERFECTION: Several Notre Dame players, both men and women, are undefeated thus far in singles or doubles (or both) in the 2005-06 season. See below a list of the Irish players still seeking to avoid their first defeats:
- Stephen Bass is 4-0 in singles- Patrick Buchanan is 4-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles- Brett Helgeson is 4-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles- Ryan Keckley is 1-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles- Eric Langenkamp is 3-0 in doubles- Sheeva Parbhu is 4-0 in singles- Andrew Roth is 3-0 in doubles- Yuichi Uda is 4-0 in singles- Brook Buck is 4-0 in doubles- Kelcy Tefft is 3-0 in singles and 4-0 in doubles- Catrina Thompson & Christian Thompson are 4-0 in doubles (all four wins over ranked teams)
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.firstname.lastname@example.org, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.