Jan. 29, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame became just the sixth Division I school to register 1,000 all-time victories in men’s tennis action, as the 34th-ranked Irish (5-0) pulled off a 5-2 upset of #18 North Carolina (2-1) Saturday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame, which won the doubles point and three of the four straight-set singles decisions to clinch the triumph, has another challenge on the horizon, as it will play host to dangerous #41 Florida State (3-1) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Pavilion.
The Irish won at the bottom two positions in doubles and then got straight-set wins at Nos. 3, 4, and 6, as well as a three-set triumph at No. 2, in singles. Notre Dame now holds a 1,000-428-4 (.700) all-time record in 83 years of varsity men’s tennis competition, and the Irish joined Texas (1,314), Georgia (1,082), USC (1,080), Stanford (1,035), and UCLA (1,022) in the 1,000-victory club.
Notre Dame started quickly, as junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsadale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) used an outstanding return game to break serve four times en route to an 8-3 victory against Jonathan Janda and Derek Porter at No. 2. Langenkamp and Parbhu moved to 6-2 this season.
Sophomores Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) clinched the doubles point for the Irish with an 8-6 win over Raian Luchici and David Stone at No. 3. The Irish got a break in the 11th game and made that stand up for their second clinching victory of the season. The Notre Dame duo is now 5-2 on the season.
The Irish very nearly swept the doubles, as the No. 1 match was a display of strong serving between senior captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) of Notre Dame and the ninth-ranked team in college tennis, Geoff Boyd and Brad Pomeroy. Both sides held serve eight consecutive times, forcing the match to a tiebreaker, which the Heels won 7-5. Boyd and Pomeroy improved to 13-2 this season, while the Irish team lost a tiebreaker for the second consecutive match and dropped to 1-4 in their careers in tiebreakers.
Junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) was first off the court in singles, claiming a 6-3, 6-4 win against Stone at No. 6. He improved his season record to 20-2, including 4-0 this spring at Nos. 5 and 6. Buchanan holds the team lead in singles victories and now has won 41 of 45 sets this season. He has won 28 consecutive matches when claiming the first set and is 12-1 indoors.
Luchici, ranked 66th in the nation, got North Carolina on the board with a 6-4, 6-1 win over 78th-ranked Bass at No. 1. He improved to 13-2 on the campaign, while the Irish sophomore lost for the fifth time in 18 matches, with all of the defeats coming vs. nationally-ranked foes.
Parbhu put the Irish within a point of victory by defeating Benjamin Carlotti 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4. Despite only losing five games, the Irish freshman had trouble closing out the match, as it took seven match points before he finally prevailed. Parbhu is 16-4 on the season and has not lost a set in four matches at No. 4 this spring. He is now 7-1 at home, 6-1 indoors, and 16-1 when winning the opening set. Carlotti came in with a 12-1 record.
King, ranked 112th in the nation, provided the clinching victory with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) win against Boyd at No. 3. It was the second clinching win for the Irishman this season, and he stands 11-4. He has now won 16 in a row when claiming the opening set and is 4-1 this spring.
After the upset had been clinched, D’Amico came back to defeat Pomeroy 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2. The Irish captain, who made his season debut at the position after going 3-0 at No. 3, is 10-3 on the season, including 6-1 at home. He has rallied for victory three times in six matches this season after losing the set. D’Amico had been just 3-23 when dropping the opening frame in his first three years of collegiate action.
Notre Dame appeared to be on the verge of a 6-1 victory, as sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) had two match points at 5-3 in the third set, but eventually lost 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Porter at No. 5 in a marathon match of counter-punching.
The victory was the first for the Irish against a top-25 team since March 7, 2002, when the sixth-ranked Irish edged #5 Illinois 4-3 in Champaign (incidentally, that still stands as the most-recent home loss for the Illini, who have won 35 in a row in the Atkins Tennis Center since then). Notre Dame had lost 15 consecutive matches against top-25 opponents since then.
The Tar Heels were the highest-ranked team to lose at Notre Dame since Jan. 12, 2001, when the Irish shut out #18 Minnesota 7-0.
It was the first visit for North Carolina to Notre Dame since 1997 and the first meeting anywhere between the schools since 2000.
Notre Dame last opened with five consecutive victories in 1996-97, when the Irish started 6-0 en route to a 19-6 record and a final national ranking of 16th.
#34 Notre Dame 5, #18 North Carolina 2
No. 1: #66 Raian Luchici (UNC) def. #78 Stephen Bass (ND) 6-4, 6-1
No. 2: Brent D’Amico (ND) def. Brad Pomeroy (UNC) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
No. 3: *#112 Barry King (ND) def. Geoff Boyd (UNC) 6-4, 7-6 (7-0)
No. 4: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Benjamin Carlotti (UNC) 6-3, 6-2
No. 5: Derek Porter (UNC) def. Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) 1-6, 6-4, 7-5
No. 6: Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. David Stone (UNC) 6-3, 6-4
Order of Finish: 6, 1, 4, 3*, 2, 5
No. 1: #9 Boyd/Pomeroy (UNC) def. D’Amico/Ryan Keckley (ND) 9-8 (7-5)
No. 2: Eric Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) def. Jonathan Janda/Porter (UNC) 8-3
No. 3: *S. Bass/King (ND) def. Luchici/Stone (UNC) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 3*, 1