Feb. 12, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 28th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (5-4) posted a pair of victories on Sunday, winning 6-1 over Wisconsin (3-3) and 7-0 against Bradley (1-4) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish will conclude a four-match homestand on Wednesday by playing host to #75 Michigan State at 4 p.m. (EST).
Junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.), a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, was the lone Notre Dame player to register four victories on the day, winning in singles and doubles in both matches. In all, 10 of the 12 players on the Irish roster saw action, with all of them earning at least one victory.
Wisconsin proved to be a tough test for the Irish, as the top four matches in singles all went to third sets. But Notre Dame swept the doubles contests and ended up winning at Nos. 1-3 singles, in addition to straight-set victories at Nos. 5 and 6.
Sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) teamed together for the first time since Sept. 24 and won 8-2 at No. 3 against Felipe Bellido and Nolan Polley. Keckley and fellow junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) provided the clinching victory in doubles for the second time this season by beating Gian Hodgson and Brennen Phippen 8-3 at No. 1. Senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) teamed up for the first time this season after going 13-7 and briefly entering the national rankings together a year ago. They beat Lachezar Kasarov and Jeremy Sonkin 8-4 at No. 2 to complete the sweep, Notre Dame’s second of the spring.
Keckley continued to be fast and effective, as he was the first player off the court in singles for the sixth time this spring, and he beat Bellido, a native of Peru, 6-2, 7-5 at No. 5. Langenkamp, ranked 65th in the nation in singles, made the score 3-0 by topping the freshman from Aruba, Hodgson, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 at No. 6. In the opening set, he trailed 4-2 in the tiebreaker and then had to save a set point before prevailing for his sixth consecutive victory in traditional tiebreakers in singles.
Brett Helgeson clinched the win against Wisconsin and then played No. 2 singles for the first time against Bradley. (photo by Marcus Snowden)
Helgeson earned the clinching victory for the first time this spring – though he clinched ND’s 6-1 exhibition triumph against USC in the fall – by coming back to beat Phippen 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3. The Irish rookie actually has a winning record, 5-4, when dropping the opening set as a collegian, and he is now 3-0 in three-set affairs.
After the outcome was determined, junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) matched Helgeson in rallying from a first-set defeat to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 against Nolan Polley – who transferred to Wisconsin from Kentucky prior to the season – at No. 2. Bass, ranked #8 in the nation in singles, rallied from losing the opening set to win the match for the 14th time in his career and improved to 18-6 in three-set affairs. Polley came in with a 19-7 mark this season.
Lachezar Kasarov of Bulgaria got the Badgers on the board by beating King 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 at No. 4. In the final contest, 14th-ranked Parbhu came back to beat Sonkin 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1. It was the second win this season for the Irish player in the battle of sophomores, as Parbhu also prevailed 6-4, 6-4 in the Tom Fallon Invitational in September. Parbhu is now 4-4 in 2005-06 when dropping the first set and has rallied to win the final two frames on seven occasions in his career.
Notre Dame beat Wisconsin for the 15th consecutive time (dating back to a 6-3 Badgers’ win in 1991) and now leads the all-time series 44-15.
In the first meeting of the schools since 1988, the Irish dominated Bradley, losing just five games en route to sweeping the doubles matches and then dropping only a single set – and 30 total games (2.3 per set) – in singles. It was the fewest games dropped by Notre Dame in doubles since losing just four against Indianapolis on Feb. 13, 2005.
Done first in doubles was the pair of Roth and senior captain Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), who teamed up for the first time since Sept. 24 and defeated Marko Marevic and Evgeny Samoylou 8-1 at No. 3. The Irish duo is 3-0 as a team, and Roth holds a team-best 9-1 mark in partnered play this season (5-0 in dual action).
Freshman Santiago Montoya (Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) made his dual-match debut by pairing with Keckley at No. 2, and that team prevailed 8-2 over Brian Hanus and Matt Metully to clinch the doubles point.
Parbhu played No. 1 doubles for the first time in his career – meaning he has now played all three spots in doubles, as well as each of the top four in singles – teaming with Langenkamp to beat Alex Roby and Wil Lofgren 8-2 to finish off the sweep. The Notre Dame senior became the first Irish player to earn his 10th doubles victory this season, as opposed to four defeats.
In singles, King got back on the winning track by defeating Metully 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 in the quickest match. Junior Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) took on a fellow native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, defeating freshman Michel Macara-chvili – who now resides in Peru – 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6. It was the first win for Akhvlediani, who has struggled with injuries, since Sept. 24. It was the first “double bagel” for an Irish player since April 25, 2003, when Nicolas Lopez-Acevedo won 12 straight games against Nick Stocker of St. John’s at No. 5 in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship.
Bass clinched the victory for the third time in his career by beating the Croatian senior, Marevic, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1. The Irish junior leads the team in singles victories, with an 18-5 record and has won 11 in a row at home.
Roth made his dual-match singles debut at No. 5, winning 6-0, 6-3 against the Russian freshman, Samoylou. He improved to 7-2 this season in singles and 16-3 in combined action.
Helgeson played at No. 2 for the first time and downed Lofgren 6-4, 7-5 to improve to 9-0 in home matches. He is 13-4 overall (6-3 dual).
Keckley was last on, finally beating Hanus 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 at No. 4 to preserve the shutout. He is now 10-2 on the season in singles, including 8-1 in dual action. He has won nine straight at home and is 3-0 in three-set matches this spring (4-1 on the season).
It was Bradley’s first visit to Notre Dame for men’s tennis action since 1969, and the Irish now lead the all-time series 10-1, including five straight victories (dating back to 1968).
It was the 14th consecutive time the Irish won both matches when playing multiple times on the same day, dating back to March 25, 1989, when they lost 5-4 to Miami (Ohio), but then went on to beat Northern Illinois (6-3) and Indiana State (9-0).
#28 Notre Dame 6, Wisconsin 1SinglesNo. 1: #14 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Jeremy Sonkin (W) 5-7, 6-1, 6-3No. 2: #8 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Nolan Polley (W) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4No. 3: * Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Brennen Phippen (W) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1No. 4: Lachezar Kasarov (W) def. Barry King (ND) 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5No. 5: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Felipe Bellido (W) 6-2, 7-5No. 6: #65 Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Gian Hodgson (W) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3Order of Finish: 5, 6, 3*, 2, 4, 1DoublesNo. 1: * Keckley/King (ND) def. Hodgson/Phippen (W) 8-3No. 2: Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) def. Kasarov/Sonkin (W) 8-4No. 3: Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) def. Bellido/Polley (W) 8-2Order of Finish: 3, 1*, 2
#28 Notre Dame 7, Bradley 0SinglesNo. 1: * #8 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Marko Marevic (B) 6-3, 6-3No. 2: Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Wil Lofgren (B) 6-4, 7-5No. 3: Barry King (ND) def. Matt Metully (B) 6-1, 6-0No. 4: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Brian Hanus (B) 6-4, 1-6, 6-1No. 5: Andrew Roth (ND) def. Evgeny Samoylou (B) 6-0, 6-3No. 6: Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Michel Macara-chvili (B) 6-0, 6-0Order of Finish: 3, 6, 1*, 5, 2, 4DoublesNo. 1: Eric Langenkamp/Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Lofgren/Alex Roby (B) 8-2No. 2: * Keckley/Santiago Montoya (ND) def. Hanus/Metully (B) 8-2No. 3: Patrick Buchanan/Roth (ND) def. Marevic/Samoylou (B) 8-1Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1