Junior Sheeva Parbhu

No. 4 Irish Advance Into BIG EAST Championship Final

April 21, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and No. 4-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team moved into the BIG EAST Conference Championship final following a dominating 4-0 victory over St. John’s at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts Saturday morning. The Irish, who have now reached the title match in all 12 years of league membership, will take on second-seeded and No. 58 Louisville Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

Notre Dame (23-3), which has dropped just one set in singles through its first two matches at the tournament, grabbed a 1-0 lead after cruising through doubles. Senior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, NY) and senior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, IN) opened doubles with a convincing 8-2 victory over Alex Svetlakov and Tom Green at No. 1. The tandem is now 5-0 on the year overall and 5-0 in dual matches.

Senior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland) and junior Andrew Roth (Houston, TX) clined the initial point for the Irish following their 8-4 victory over Artem Vlasenko and Claudio Halim at No. 3. King and Roth improve to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in dual action.

Sophomore Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, KS) and junior Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) led their match at No. 2 doubles, 7-4, when it was halted.

King was the first singles player off for Notre Dame. He coasted past Green, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 4 for his sixth consecutive victory. King improves to 32-7 overall and 21-3 in dual action.

Roth pushed the Irish lead to 3-0 following his 6-2, 6-2 straight-set victory over Halim at No. 6. He extends his winning streak to a career-high six matches, improves to 24-11 overall and 15-6 in dual matches.

Parbhu clinched the match for Notre Dame. The junior upended Vlasenko at No. 2 in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. Parbhu improves to 28-11 overall and 18-5 in dual action.

The Irish improve to 43-10 (.811) all-time against fellow conference foes, including 25-5 (.833) in the BIG EAST Championship. Nine of the 10 defeats came against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow BIG EAST member from 1996-2004.

The Irish have reached the title match of the BIG EAST tournament every year since becoming a league member in 1995-96 and have won five championships (1996, ’99, 2002, ’04, and ’05) and saw the ’03 final rained out with no winner declared. Notre Dame is now 19-0 in matches leading up to the final, with 16 of those coming as shutouts.

The Irish hold a 97-3 (.970) all-time record against the current members of the BIG EAST, though two of those defeats came against Louisville — in the opening round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament and 2006 BIG EAST title match.

1. Stephen Bass (ND) vs. Louis Desmarteaux (SJU); 4-6, 4-1
2. Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Artem Vlasenko (SJU); 6-1, 6-3
3. Brett Helgeson (ND) led Alex Svetlakov (SJU); 6-3, 5-1
4. Barry King (ND) def. Tom Green (SJU); 6-1, 6-2
5. Ryan Keckley (ND) led Martin Kosut (SJU); 6-4, 4-0
6. Andrew Roth (ND) def. Claudio Halim (SJU); 6-2, 6-2

1. Bass/Keckley (ND) def. Svetlakov/Green (SJU); 8-2
2. Helgeson/Parbhu (ND) led Desmarteaux/Kosut (SJU); 7-4
3. King/Roth (ND) def. Vlasenko/Halim (SJU); 8-4

— ND —