Brett Helgeson is looking to lead the Irish to the program's eighth BIG EAST title.

Men's Tennis Headed To Tampa For BIG EAST Championship

April 15, 2009


Complete BIG EAST Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The Notre Dame men’s tennis team begins postseason play in pursuit of the program’s eighth BIG EAST title on Friday, April 17 at the University of South Florida Varsity Courts in Tampa, Fla. The Fighting Irish enter the four-day event as the second seed among the nine-team field.

2009 BIG EAST Conference Championship

USF Varsity Tennis Courts -- Tampa, Fla.
Friday, April 17Quarterfinals, 9 a.m. (EST):[2] Notre Dame (12-10) vs. [7] Georgetown (4-19)
Saturday, April 18Semifinals, 9 a.m. (EST)
Sunday, April 19Final, 9 a.m. (EST)

BIG EAST Preview The Notre Dame men’s tennis team begins postseason play in pursuit of the program’s eighth BIG EAST title on Friday, April 17 at the University of South Florida Varsity Courts in Tampa, Fla. The Fighting Irish enter the four-day event as the second seed among the nine-team field.

2009 marks the 13th BIG EAST men’s tennis championship. Nine of the 16 members of the BIG EAST Conference field teams in men’s tennis, but the league does not require round-robin competition during the season. All nine teams, as seeded by the conference based on national ranking and head-to-head results, earn invitations to the league championship, a single-elimination team tournament with the winner gaining the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Championship. Play begins with eighth-seeded Villanova taking on ninth-seeded Connecticut at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 16. The winner of that match will face top-seeded Louisville at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, April 17. The second-seeded Irish will face seventh-seeded Georgetown; also on Friday at 9:00 a.m. Saturday’s semifinal matches and Sunday’s Championship will all begin at 9:00 a.m. as well.

Following The Irish At The Championship Daily recaps will be posted at, while complete results and updated matchups will be posted on

The Georgetown Matchup The Irish have played the Hoyas of Georgetown on seven occasions dating back to 1958, with the Irish holding a 6-1 series lead. The teams first met in 1958 in the finals of the Cherry Blossom Tournament in Washington, D.C. The Irish won that match, 8-1. Georgetown’s lone win in the series came in 1962, with the Hoyas earning a 5-4 win, also in the Cherry Blossom Tournament. The teams most recently squared off in the quarterfinals of the 2006 BIG EAST tournament in Tampa, Fla. Notre Dame recorded a 4-0 win on that day.

The Hoyas enter Friday’s match with a 4-19 overall record in 2009. They earned wins over Richmond on Jan. 16 (4-1), Duquesne on March 15 (4-3), Connecticut on March 21 (5-2) and versus Villanova on April 5 (4-3). Georgetown and Notre Dame have not faced any common opponents this year. Gordie Ernst (Brown 1990) is in his third season serving as the Hoyas’ men’s and women’s tennis head coach. He is assisted by Emily DeCamilla (Ohio State 2005), who assists with the women’s team as well. Senior Adam Gross, a native of Quogue New York, serves as the men’s team captain.

BIG EAST History The BIG EAST men’s tennis tournament dates back to the 1979 season, as Boston College captured the inaugural championship, besting runner-up Georgetown, 16-14. From 1979-1994, the tournament was decided on an individual point-scoring basis, with players earning points towards the overall team score. Following the 1994 season, the tournament switched to the current team championship format. 2009 marks the fifth-consecutive year in which the tournament is taking place in Tampa, Fla.

Conference Dominance Since becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference in the 1995-96 season, the Irish have reached the title match of the league tournament every season, claiming seven titles. Nine members of the BIG EAST Conference – Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, South Florida, St. John’s, and Villanova – field teams in men’s tennis, but the league does not require round-robin competition during the season. ND has an all-time record of 103-4 (.963) against those teams. Prior to joining the BIG EAST, the Irish won seven Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles from 1988-89 through 1994-95. All told, Notre Dame has earned 14 conference titles.

Notre Dame faced Miami in eight straight BIG EAST finals (1996-2003), before upsetting top-seeded Virginia Tech in 2004 and beating Rutgers in the ’05 title match. The Irish won three times (1996, ’99, 2002) against the Hurricanes (who hosted the event until leaving the conference after the 2003-04 season). The 2003 final was rained out in progress, with conference policy awarding the NCAA automatic berth to the top-seeded Hurricanes. In 17 early-round matches (first round though semifinals), Notre Dame is undefeated, having registered 17 shutouts. The Irish have been the top seed heading into the tournament ten times, while they were the No. 2 seed in 2000 and ’04 and the No. 3 seed in 2003.

The 2008 BIG EAST Championship Recap Last year, Notre Dame captured the program’s seventh BIG EAST title with a dramatic win over the home-standing Bulls of South Florida in the Championship match, 4-3. To reach the finals, Notre Dame knocked off Villanova, 4-0, in the quarterfinals and then defeated DePaul in the semifinals, 4-1.

In the championship match, Notre Dame had its back against the wall, trailing 3-2, but had two of its most clutch players left on the court in senior captain Sheeva Parbhu and Daniel Stahl. Parbhu fought off USF’s Mahmoud Hamed 6-2, 6-4 to tie the match at three with a tough second set win. While the Irish captain was able to gain a decisive advantage in the first set, he battled in the second and won it by a single break. Thus the match rested on the shoulders of the freshman Stahl, who was riding a six-match winning streak. He was able to win the first set in a tiebreaker over Diego Toledo and then got the break he needed to win the second set and claim the match 7-6 (4), 6-4.

2008 BIG EAST Awards Sweep Following their BIG EAST team titles, the Notre Dame tennis program captured the conference’s major awards, namely Coach of the Year and Most Outstanding Player. Head coach Bobby Bayliss was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Brett Helgeson captured the conference’s Most Outstanding Player award. Both of the awards were voted on by the BIG EAST coaches.

It marked Bayliss’ seventh Coach of the Year award in the past 11 seasons. Helgeson was dominant in singles play at the 2008 BIG EAST Tournament, dropping just four total games in three easy victories. He became the second straight Notre Dame player to capture the Most Outstanding Player award, following Stephen Bass’s honor in 2007. In addition, Helgeson was named to both the singles and doubles all-tournament teams for the second time in his career. He teamed with senior captain Sheeva Parbhu to win two doubles matches for the Irish at the 2008 BIG EAST Tournament.

Parbhu earned all-conference recognition in both singles and doubles for the second time in as many years. Daniel Stahl also earned a place on the all-conference singles team while Andrew Roth and Santiago Montoya were named to the all-Big East doubles team. Stahl’s lone win of the weekend came in the final match of the tournament, as he clinched the title with a win over Diego Toledo of South Florida with the match tied at three.

Versus The BIG EAST Field During the 2008-09 season, the Irish played matches versus South Florida and Louisville. On March 28, Notre Dame defeated South Florida, 6-1, inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind. At the time, Notre Dame was ranked 27th and South Florida stood at 40th in the ITA rankings. Notre Dame swept doubles play and also got singles wins from David Anderson, Daniel Stahl, Tyler Davis, Casey Watt and Brett Helgeson. The win was Notre Dame’s fourth win in the all-time series, as the Bulls have never beaten the Irish.

On April 11, 20th-ranked Notre Dame fell to 26th-ranked Louisville, 4-3, at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville, Ky. Louisville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. The Cardinals then took a 2-0 lead with a win by 78th-ranked Viktor Maksimcuk at second singles over 124th-ranked Stephen Havens, 6-0, 7-5. The Irish then got on the board as David Anderson took out Sumit-Prakash Gupta, 6-0, 6-2 at fifth singles. Casey Watt then tied the overall match at 2-2 as he won at third singles over Simon Childs, 6-1, 7-5. Louisville regained the lead when Alejandro Calligari beat Daniel Stahl at No. 4 singles, 6-3, 6-2. At sixth singles, Tyler Davis kept Notre Dame’s hopes alive as he produced a 6-4, 6-2 win over Andrew Carter. The match subsequently came down to a battle at No. 1 singles between the two highest ranked singles players in the BIG EAST, namely Brett Helegson and Austen Childs. Childs, ranked 41st, took the first set, 6-0, only to see Helgeson, ranked 24th, rally back to take the second set, 6-2. In the decisive third set, Childs proved victorious, 6-4, to claim the win for the Cardinals.

One For The (Record) Books On March 29, the Irish (ranked 27th at the time) knocked-off ninth-ranked Illinois, 4-3, in their final home match of the season. In that match, Notre Dame claimed the doubles point and also received singles wins from Daniel Stahl, Brett Helgeson and David Anderson to claim the win. With the match locked at 3-3, Anderson held serve to clinch the win for the Irish at fifth singles. The win marked Notre Dame’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent since April 1, 2007 when then fifth-ranked Notre Dame defeated eighth-ranked Illinois, 5-2, also at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. In addition, it was Notre Dame’s first win over a top-10 opponent while not being ranked in the ITA top-20 since February 16, 1997 when 29th-ranked Notre Dame defeated eighth-ranked Duke, 4-3.

Head Coach Bobby Bayliss Head coach Bobby Bayliss is in his 22nd year at the helm of the Irish men’s tennis program, and his 39th overall year as a Division I head coach. In Notre Dame’s regular season finale, the Irish beat Ball State, 7-0 on Monday, April 13. The win marked the 400th of Bayliss’ career as the head coach at Notre Dame.

Last year, Notre Dame reached the NCAA Championship Tournament for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons while also earning the program’s seventh BIG EAST Tournament Championship. Bayliss was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and the seventh time in the last 11 years. After posting an overall record of 16-11, including a 4-3 win over No. 13 Florida State on April 26, the Irish finished the season ranked 29th. It was the 18th consecutive year that the Irish were listed in the final ITA rankings.

Last season, Bayliss was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and the seventh time in the last 11 years. To date at Notre Dame, Bayliss has posted a 400-191 record (.677), giving him a career Division I head coaching record of 691-296-1 (.700) over 39 seasons. He has helped Irish players earn All-America honors on 20 occasions. His squads have won 17 league championships and finished in the national top-20 in 12 different seasons.

Notre Dame’s Record When…

Winning @ #1 singles                    10-1Winning @ #2 singles                    7-2Winning @ #3 singles                    9-3Winning @ #4 singles                    12-4Winning @ #5 singles                    7-4Winning @ #6 singles                    9-3Winning the doubles point           9-2David Anderson records a singles win     5-2Tyler Davis records a singles win       3-1Niall Fitzgerald records a singles win        5-1Stephen Havens records a singles win     7-2Brett Helgeson records a singles win     10-1Sam Keeton records a singles win        4-3Daniel Stahl records a singles win     9-2Casey Watt records a singles win        11-5Playing at home                     7-3Playing on the road             4-5Playing at a neutral site           1-2Playing a top-20 opponent           3-6