April 4, 2008
The Notre Dame men’s tennis team snapped its longest losing streak in five seasons with a convincing shutout win over Ball State Friday afternoon inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The win was the first for the Irish (11-8) since a 4-3 triumph over NC State on March 13 and was the 18th in a row over in-state rival Ball State.
With William & Mary scheduled to play Western Michigan following the Notre Dame match, the Irish and Cardinals elected to play singles first to open court space and allow the Tribe and Broncos to warm up. The unusual order of play had no effect on the Irish who won all twelve singles sets contested.
Freshman Daniel Stahl tallied the initial point for Notre Dame with a convincing 6-1, 6-1 win over Jimmy Brannon at No. 6. The Irish rookie took early leads in both sets and never looked back to earn his 21st win of the year. Stahl won for the second time in as many matches and is now 9-1 this season at the No. 6 position.
Junior Brett Helgeson soundly defeated Eduardo Pavia by a familiar 6-1, 6-1 score to put Notre Dame ahead 2-0. After cruising to a first set win, Helgeson won the first three games of the second set and had little trouble the rest of the way. The junior improved his record to 25-8 on the year, and is now 10-7 in dual play including 8-7 at the top singles position.
Senior captain Sheeva Parbhu put Notre Dame on the verge of victory with a 6-2, 6-1 straight set win over Jose Perdomo at No. 2. Much like his teammate at the No.1 position, Parbhu fought to gain an early lead in the first set and then jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second on his way to a to an easy victory. Parbhu is 12-5 in dual play this spring, good for the best record on the team.
Freshman Stephen Havens earned the clinching point for Notre Dame with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the No. 4 position over Ball State’s Jorge Rodriguez. After earning a break in the first set to take an early lead, Havens held on to win it by a single break. He earned his initial break of the second set at 1-1, then broke Rodriguez again to gain a 4-2 advantage. The Ball State junior would never recover from the deficit. The Notre Dame freshman won for the second time in three matches and improved to 18-15 on the season.
Andrew Roth won for just the second time in six matches, securing a 7-5, 6-2 win over Shaun Bussert at No. 3. Roth played a tightly contested first set that was on serve at 4-5 with Bussert serving. The Irish senior had two opportunities to break in the game but could not come through, as Bussert knotted the match at five. After an easy hold, Roth would have a second chance to break, at 6-5, and the Irish senior came through, winning a long break point. Using this momentum, Roth sprinted to a 5-0 lead in the second set and cruised to the win. The Notre Dame veteran is now 9-14 on the year.
David Anderson made it a clean sweep in singles play for Notre Dame when he bested Joe Vallee 6-3, 6-2. The Irish freshman won a close first set and was battling in the second set when he earned a key break at 3-2 in the second to take the advantage. After a hold made it 5-2, Anderson battled through a long deuce game to wrap up the victory. The win was the rookie’s 16th on the season and evened his dual mark at 7-7.
With the match in hand heading into doubles play, the Irish mixed up the doubles lineup to give some reserves a chance to play in a dual match. The lineup changes did little to stop the Irish momentum as they quickly wrapped up all three doubles matches to post the 7-0 win.
Matt Johnson, playing in the first dual match of his Notre Dame career, partnered with sophomore Sean Corrigan to best Bussert and Daniel Vidal 8-3. The Irish pair broke the Cardinals at 3-3 and vaulted to a lead they would not relinquish. Johnson and Corrigan won the match’s final five games to earn the victory. The pair is now 2-1 on the season.
The only Notre Dame pairing that didn’t change was the No. 1 team of Parbhu and Helgeson. The Irish duo, playing in their first match as a ranked team this season, beat Perdomo and Rodriguez by an 8-6 count. The only break of the match went the way of the Irish at 3-3. After grabbing the lead, Helgeson and Parbhu put together four strong service games to earn the win, their tenth of the dual season and second in as many matches.
Play concluded at the No. 2 position where Tyler Davis moved up in the doubles lineup and joined Santiago Montoya in defeating Pavia and Valee 8-5. The Irish team fell behind 3-1 in the match after a dropping a long game at 2-1. The Irish would quickly knot the match at four before taking control and winning four of the contest’s final five games. Davis and Montoya won for the ninth time in 15 matches together this season, and improved their dual record to 7-5.
The Irish will look to make it a perfect home weekend Sunday morning when they challenge the Tribe of William & Mary. First serve is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and will mark the first home match played outside at the Courtney Tennis Center this season.