March 21, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s tennis team moved up two spots to No. 5 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll released Tuesday after winning the Blue Gray National Tournament in Montgomery, Ala. last weekend. The Irish had not broken into the nation’s top five since March 27, 2002 when they were ranked No. 4.
Notre Dame improved to 15-2 on the season following four consecutive dominant victories over teams ranked among the top 40 in the country. The Irish blanked No. 38 Texas A&M-CC before registering three straight 4-1 wins over No. 40 Auburn, No. 26 Tulsa and No. 14 Alabama. The victory over the Crimson Tide was the sixth this season for Notre Dame against a team ranked in the top 25. The Irish are 6-2 in those matches.
Notre Dame is off to its best start since the 1989-90 season. The Irish opened that season with a gaudy 15-2 mark as well.
Georgia remains No. 1 in the polls with Ohio State, Virginia, Baylor and Notre Dame rounding out the top five.
Senior Stephen Bass (25-8, 14-2), who was ranked #12 in the last ITA singles poll, moved up four spots to a career-best tying #8. Bass climbed as high as #8 last season. He has captured eight consecutive matches and recently upended the nation’s former #1 player, Arnau Brugues, of Tulsa.
Junior Sheeva Parbhu (22-9, 12-3) also rose in the rankings. Parbhu jumped three spots to #54. He rides a five-match winning streak into this weekend. Not to be forgotten, sophomore Brett Helgeson (24-6, 13-2) rose from #107 to #102. Helgeson not only leads the Irish in winning percentage, but the No. 3 player has ripped off a team-high 10 consecutive wins.
The top doubles team of senior Ryan Keckley and Parbhu (20-10, 6-9) remain the lone Irish duo ranked. Keckley and Parbhu jumped into the top 10 (7th) for the second time this season. The #7 ranking is the highest for a Notre Dame doubles team since Casey Smith and Javier Taborga were ranked #4 in 2002.
The Irish return to action on Sunday, March 25 at in-state rival Purdue. First-serve with the Boilermakers is scheduled for noon (EST).
— ND —