Sept. 13, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s tennis team will look to improve upon back-to-back sweet sixteen appearances when they open the 2007 Fall season with the Olympia Fields Invitational at Olympia Fields Country Club in suburban Chicago. The Irish will face stiff competition from NCAA finalist Illinois, fellow sweet sixteen participant Alabama and NCAA qualifier Miami (Fla.).
The tournament will present a unique opportunity for Notre Dame, as it will be contested on clay courts. It is the only Division I ITA clay court tournament scheduled for this tennis season. This weekend will mark the first time the Irish have played on clay since the ITA discontinued its clay court championships in 1999.
Fresh faces will dot the Irish lineup as the Irish are expected to take five freshmen to Chicago. David Anderson (Sandwich, MA), Tyler Davis (Nashville, TN), Dan Stahl (Bethesda, MD), Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, OH) and Matt Johnson (Portage, MI) are expected to make their Notre Dame debuts this weekend. This group will look to help fill the void left by a senior class that included All-American Stephen Bass and Barry King.
Veterans Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, KS), Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) and Andrew Roth (Houston, TX) are expected to fill the top three singles slots for the Irish this weekend. The trio accounted for 86 of Notre Dame’s 200 singles victories last season.
This weekend’s tournament will see seven of the top 100 singles players in the country, including two from Notre Dame. Parbhu enters the year ranked 30th and Helgeson 66th in the ITA’s preseason rankings.
The Irish have enjoyed recent success against its opponents this weekend, winning the last meeting over each team. The Irish and Illini last met on Apr. 1, 2007; when Notre Dame posted a 5-2 win over Illinois at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame defeated Alabama, 4-1, in the final of the Blue Gray Tennis Classic last March and the Irish and Hurricanes last met in the 2004 Big East Final — a 4-1 Notre Dame triumph.
— ND —