May 10, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – The No. 22 ranked Irish were unable to get over the hump against the No. 41 ranked and Atlantic Sun champion East Tennesse State Buccaneers. Notre Dame fought valiantly, but were never able to get control of the match and dropped a heart-breaker, 4-2.
The Irish fell behind early, dropping the doubles point to the Buccaneers. At No. 2 doubles the team of Andrew Roth and Santiago Montoya were unable to ever get any momentum on their side. They fell to the team of Sebastian Serrano and Enrique Olivares, 8-4. The loss snapped a three match winning streak that the tandem had going.
With the Irish needing to win the remaining two matches they would look to the team of Brett Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu on No. 1 doubles to even the tide. Down 7-4, they would go on to hold serve and break the Buccaneers team of Oscar Posada and Alex Ahlgren to make the match close at 7-6. However, the Buccaneers would stay strong and hold on for an 8-6 victory. The Irish defeat clinched the pivotal opening point of the match for East Tennessee State.
As singles got underway, the struggles for Notre Dame would continue to loom. The Irish would see themselves drop four of the six first sets. On No. 4 singles Notre Dame’s Havens would drop a straight sets decision to East Tennessee State’s Picardo, 6-3, 6-3.
With the score standing at 2-0 for the Buccaneers, Notre Dame needed to start a comeback immediately. However, at No. 3 singles Roth was defeated handily by the Buccaneers’ Predrag Burmazovic, 6-1, 6-2. Roth faltered at the end of the season, dropping three consecutive matches and eight of his last ten. The loss moved the score to 3-0 in favor of East Tennessee State.
With the Irish a point away from elimination, they would get their first point on the board. At No. 6 singles Daniel Stahl, who dropped the first set, defeated East Tennessee State’s Isaza (1-6, 6-3, 6-1). Stahl finished the season red-hot, winning eight consecutive singles matches for the Irish. He moved his record at No. 6 to 15-1 on the season.
At No. 1 singles the Irish’s Helgeson and Buccaneers’ Olivares battled through a three set match. Helgeson, ranked 44th nationally, took the first set over the 57th ranked Olivares. Olivares answered in the second set to even the match at a set apiece. Trailing 5-4 in the third and facing elimination, Helgeson rattled off three consecutive games to take the match (6-4, 3-6, 7-5) and close the match score to 3-2.
No. 111 Sheeva Parbhu would be the next Irish match to go to three sets. After dropping the first set to Sebastian Serrano, Parbhu would go on to take the second set in a tie-break. The third set was a set of streaks for both players. After falling behind quickly 4-1, Parbhu rebounded to take the next three games and even it at 4-4. Serrano would then go on to hold his serve and send the match to 5-4 in favor of ETSU as Parbhu got ready for his service game. Unfortunately for the senior and the Irish team, the comeback was thwarted. Serrano went on to break and defeat Parbhu (6-4, 6-7, 6-4). The match finished with a 4-2 decision in favor of the Buccaneers.
The final singles match between David Anderson and Oscar Posada, which also was in the third set, was abandoned upon conclusion of the Parbhu match.
The No. 26 ranked Irish finished their season very well, winning five of their last six and taking home the BIG EAST championship. They finish the 2008 campaign with a 16-11 record, including a perfect 4-0 versus conference foes.
Today’s match marks the final appearance for seniors Andrew Roth and Sheeva Parbhu. Parbhu finished his career as the sixth all-time leader in singles wins (93) and the 12th all-time in overall (singles and doubles) victories (151).