Jan. 21, 2005
The 34th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (2-0) will try to stay perfect on the season, when it takes on a pair of Big Ten Conference opponents this weekend. The Irish, who had little trouble in sweeping a season-opening doubleheader with Toledo and Illinois State last weekend, will play host to intrastate rival #62 Indiana (0-0) on Saturday at 11 a.m. (EST) before heading to Wisconsin for a Noon (CST) tilt on Sunday.
ITA RANKINGS: Notre Dame is currently 34th among the 75 teams ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) after finishing 2004 ranked 33rd. It is the 14th consecutive season in which the Irish have been represented in the preseason ITA rankings, but it represents the second-lowest preseason listing ever for Notre Dame (49th last season).
Sophomores Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) both earned their first career national rankings when the most recent set of ITA singles and doubles listings was released earlier this month. Bass, who stands 12-3 with all of his defeats coming against ranked foes, debuted at 77th. His first semester was highlighted by his first two career wins against nationally-ranked players (#56 Paul Rose of Purdue and #97 Joey Atas of Ohio State) and a run to the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Championships. King upset #26 Jeff Kader of William & Mary and #50 Chris Martin of Illinois last fall, and he currently boasts a 9-3 record, which has him ranked 113th. He reached the round of 16 in the ITA Midwest Championships, and two of his losses were vs. ranked foes, while the other came in a match tiebreaker.
Notre Dame was well represented in the ITA Midwest Region rankings, released in December. The Irish were the only squad to place five players among the top 21 in singles. Leading the way was Bass at tied for fourth, while King was 14th. Freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) came in 18th, while junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) was 19th, and senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) was 21st. In doubles, D’Amico and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) were ranked 14th.
IRISH vs. HOOSIERS: Indiana, which will open its dual-match slate on Saturday ranked 62nd in the nation, returns all eight letterwinners and all six starters from last year’s squad that went 12-12 and finished tied for fourth (5-5 record) in the Big Ten Conference before losing in the quarterfinals of the league tournament. The top player for the Hoosiers is senior Jakub Praibis from the Czech Republic. He finished last season ranked 53rd in the country and fourth in the Midwest Region, and he won his opening-round match in the NCAA Singles Championship. This season, he was 23rd in the preseason rankings, but fell to 61st in the most recent set after going 3-5 in the fall. Head coach Ken Hydinger is in his 20th season leading IU, having compiled a 263-202-1 (.565) record. In his 25th year as a head coach overall, he holds a career mark of 329-247-1 (.571).
Notre Dame and Indiana players faced off on five occasions in last fall’s ITA Midwest Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. Irish sophomore Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) downed a pair of Hoosiers en route to reaching the semifinals of the singles draw, defeating Neil Kenner 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round and then topping freshman Michael McCarthy 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the round of 16. Praibis defeated Irish rookie Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) in the first round and then eliminated sophomore Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) 6-2, 6-3 in the round of 16. Buchanan upended David Bubenicek 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 in qualifying action.
Notre Dame and Indiana will meet for the 17th year in a row and 66th time overall, with the Irish holding a 38-27 advantage in the all-time series. The teams first met on May 7, 1923, in the first-ever varsity tennis match for Notre Dame, with IU prevailing 6-0 on the road even though its program would not attain varsity status until 1930. Indiana is tied (with Michigan) for the third-most-common opponent in Irish history, behind only Northwestern and Michigan State (73 matches apiece). Notre Dame is 19-15 on its home courts against IU, in addition to an exhibition victory in the 1976 Irish Fall Invitational. The Irish have an 11-5 record against the Hoosiers under current head coach Bob Bayliss, but Indiana has won half of the matches at Notre Dame. IU has won three of the last five, but the Irish had an eight-match winning streak from 1992-99, giving them 10 wins in the last 13 matches. This will be the sixth time in the last nine years that both teams are nationally-ranked at the time of the match. It is also the 14th time in the last 15 contests that the Irish have been ranked higher heading in. The Irish hold a 315-228-2 (.580) all-time record against current Big Ten Conference schools, including a 134-43 (.757) mark under Bayliss.
Last season, 49th-ranked Notre Dame claimed a 6-1 road victory against #51 Indiana to open the spring season on Jan. 17. The doubles point came down to the No. 2 match, where Matthew Scott and Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School) beat Praibis and Ryan McCarthy 8-5. In singles, all but one contest went to a third set, but Notre Dame ended up winning all of the bottom five to cruise to a victory. Praibis beat Luis Haddock at No. 1 for IU’s lone tally.
IRISH vs. BADGERS: Wisconsin will open the dual-match portion of its schedule on Friday evening with a home match against Northern Illinois before welcoming the Irish to Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Badgers return six letterwinners from last year’s squad that was 8-15, finished 10th (3-9 record) in the Big Ten Conference, and lost in the quarterfinals of the league tournament. David Hippee, a 2004 graduate, and current senior Alex Kasarov of Bulgaria finished last season ranked 55th in the nation in doubles. Notre Dame and Wisconsin saw each other in the Wolverine Invitational in October, with the Irish winning eight of nine singles contests and the teams splitting four in doubles. Head coach Pat Klingelhoets is in his 24th season leading the Badgers, having compiled a 283-273 (.509) record.
Wisconsin and Notre Dame will meet for the 20th consecutive season and 58th time overall, with the Irish holding a 42-15 advantage. Notre Dame has won the last 13 matches, dating back to a 6-3 Wisconsin upset of the 20th-ranked Irish in Madison in 1991. In the current streak, Notre Dame has registered five shutouts and Wisconsin has not scored more than two points in a match. Prior to the current streak, the Badgers had won nine in a row vs. the Irish, from 1980-91. The schools first met in 1929, with Notre Dame claiming a 4-3 home triumph. The 42 Irish wins against Wisconsin are the second-most against any school, behind only 49 victories vs. Purdue. This match will make the Badgers the sixth-most-common Irish opponent in the 83-year history of varsity tennis, coming in behind Western Michigan (61 matches vs. ND), Indiana (66), Michigan (66), Northwestern (73), and Michigan State (73). The Irish have a 13-4 mark against the Badgers under current head coach Bob Bayliss, including a 6-2 record in Madison (featuring six consecutive Notre Dame victories). This will be the 15th consecutive meeting in which the Irish are the higher-ranked team. Notre Dame holds a 315-228-2 (.580) all-time record against current Big Ten Conference schools, including a 134-43 (.757) mark under Bayliss.
Last season, 50th-ranked Notre Dame claimed a 5-2 victory over Wisconsin on Feb. 15 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Badgers won tiebreakers at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles to take a 1-0 lead in the match, but the Irish then won each of the bottom five singles matches – four in straight sets – to clinch victory. Kasarov upset #68 Matthew Scott in a match tiebreaker at No. 1 for Wisconsin’s lone singles triumph.
IRISH THREE AWAY FROM 1,000: With a pair of victories last weekend, Notre Dame’s all-time men’s tennis record stands at 997-428-4 (.699) in 83 years of varsity competition. The Irish are on the verge of becoming just the sixth Division I program to register 1,000 victories, joining Texas (1,314), Georgia (1,081), USC (1,077), Stanford (1,035), and UCLA (1,018). Michigan also is poised to join the club, currently boasting 993 all-time wins.
MEN’S TENNIS “GOLD GAME” SET FOR NEXT SATURDAY vs. #18 NORTH CAROLINA: Next Saturday’s (Jan. 29) showdown with #18 North Carolina, which begins at 2 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion, has been designated as this season’s men’s tennis “Gold Game,” a distinction created by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council to encourage the entire Notre Dame community to attend particular contests. The match will feature the first trip to Notre Dame by the Tar Heels since 1997, when UNC prevailed 4-3. The last match between the schools – in 2000 in Chapel Hill – also was a 4-3 North Carolina triumph.
HOME IS WHERE THE MATCHES ARE: The Eck Tennis Pavilion will be busy during the early portion of the season, as 10 of Notre Dame’s first 11 matches will be at home. Following the Feb. 18 tilt with Northwestern, the Irish will then have just three home matches the remainder of the season.
CHANGE – NOTHING STAYS THE SAME: A number of changes have been made to Notre Dame’s schedule since it was originally released last fall. The most notable are three date changes. The home match with Texas has been moved up two days from Feb. 6 to Friday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m., while the home contest against Duke has been swapped with it, moving from Feb. 4 to Sunday, Feb. 6 at Noon (EST). Also, Notre Dame’s match at Virginia has been moved one day to Sunday, Feb. 27 at Noon (EST). In addition, there have been four other time changes, as home matches with Indiana (Jan. 22, 11 a.m.), North Carolina (Jan. 29, 2 p.m.), Florida State (Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m.), and Indianapolis (Feb. 13, 5:30 p.m.) have had their start times adjusted.
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.email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.