March 14, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) won a third-set tiebreaker against freshman Chris Cloer in the final match remaining to hand the 20th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (10-4) a 4-3 road victory against #30 Florida State (8-8) Tuesday at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The Irish, playing their first outdoor dual match of the season, snapped a four-match losing streak in 4-3 affairs and have now won eight in a row overall, dating back more than a month.
Langenkamp finally prevailed 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-1) against Cloer at No. 6 with the score tied 3-3. The match was knotted at 3-3 in the third set when Florida State earned its third team point. The Irish veteran then broke serve to take a 5-3 lead and had an opportunity to serve out the match. But Cloer – whose brother, Mat (’05), was the first All-American in FSU program history – would battle back to tie the score at 5-5 and eventually force a tiebreaker. Langenkamp again asserted himself, dropping just a single point en route to the victory.
The Irish veteran won his sixth consecutive match and evened his career mark at 1-1 when playing the final match remaining with the team score tied at 3-3. Langenkamp is now 11-7 on the season, including 3-1 in three-set matches (7-3 career). He also is 4-1 in tiebreakers in 2005-06. Cloer, who joined the team in January, had won four consecutive matches.
Florida State swept the doubles matches, but Notre Dame came back with straight-set wins at Nos. 2 and 4, and the Seminoles won in two sets at No. 3 to tie the score at 2-2 with a trio of three-setters still remaining on the court. Irish junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) put Notre Dame within a point of victory by downing Chris Westerhof 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 at No. 5. The Irish junior improved to 7-5 on the season and evened his record at 3-3 in three-set affairs.
FSU’s Ytai Abougzir, ranked 103rd, then rallied for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 upset of 13th-ranked Notre Dame junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) at No. 1 to put the match in the hands of the No. 6 players. Bass had a seven-match winning streak ended and fell to a player ranked outside the top 100 for the first time this season.
Junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) wasted little time in evening the score at 1-1 by defeating 109th-ranked freshman Maciek Sykut 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 in the quickest singles match. Keckley has won eight in a row to push his team-best dual mark to 13-1 (5-0 at No. 4). He stands 15-2 overall this season and notched his second career singles win against a ranked player, having topped then-#62 Ryan Heller from Michigan on Feb. 18.
Sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.), ranked 33rd in the nation, put Notre Dame ahead with a 7-6, 6-4 victory against Brazilian Jonathas Sucupira, who is unranked but has been as high as 36th this season. The move outdoors was a welcome sight for Parbhu, who has now won 12 consecutive matches outdoors and stands 24-4 (.857) in his career outside. He is 21-5 overall on the season, including 10-3 in dual action. Parbhu continued to excel in close matches, as he has a 12-3 record this season (22-5 career) in contests where either both side wins a set or there is a game difference of four or fewer. He also is 7-1 in tiebreakers in 2005-06.
Florida State’s Sam Chang – who has been ranked as high as 49th this season, but is currently unranked – tied the score at 2-2 by knocking off 89th-ranked Irish rookie Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) 7-6, 6-4 at No. 3. It was Chang’s seventh win over a ranked player this season.
Notre Dame failed to win a doubles match for the second time in its last three outings. Done first were Sucupira and Sam Chang, who beat Helgeson and sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) 8-4 at No. 3. The clinching win came at No. 2, where Sykut and freshman Andrew Bailey downed King and Langenkamp by an 8-6 score. Abougzir and Westerhof, ranked 29th, beat Keckley and Parbhu 8-5 at No. 1 to complete the sweep.
Next up for the Irish is a trip northwest to Montgomery, Ala., for the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic, which runs Thursday through Sunday at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center. Notre Dame – taking part in the tournament for the 16th consecutive season and seeking a third title (which would tie the tournament record) – will get underway on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (EST) against #72 William & Mary. The Irish beat the Tribe 7-0 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Jan. 29. A win would send Notre Dame to a quarterfinal matchup with either #33 South Alabama or #56 Fresno State. Some possible semifinal opponents are #32 Boise State and #36 Middle Tennessee State, while the top-ranked squads in the opposite half of the draw are #12 Louisville and #26 Virginia Commonwealth. For more information on the tournament, see www.bluegraytennis.com.
#20 Notre Dame 4, #30 Florida State 3SinglesNo. 1: #103 Ytai Abougzir (FSU) def. #13 Stephen Bass (ND) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1No. 2: #33 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Jonathas Sucupira (FSU) 7-6, 6-4No. 3: Sam Chang (FSU) def. #89 Brett Helgeson (ND) 7-6, 6-4No. 4: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. #109 Maciek Sykut (FSU) 6-2, 6-2No. 5: #106 Barry King (ND) def. Chris Westerhof (FSU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4No. 6: * Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Chris Cloer (FSU) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-1)Order of Finish: 4, 2, 3, 5, 1, 6*DoublesNo. 1: #29 Abougzir/Westerhof (FSU) def. Keckley/Parbhu (ND) 8-5No. 2: * Andrew Bailey/Sykut (FSU) def. King/Langenkamp (ND) 8-6No. 3: Chang/Sucupira (FSU) def. Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) 8-4Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1* - indicates clinching victory