April 22, 2007
TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and fourth-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team beat second-seeded Louisville Sunday morning for its third BIG EAST Conference championship in the past four years. The Irish avenged last season’s loss to the Cardinals in the tournament title match.
With the victory, Notre Dame improved to 24-3 overall. The 24 victories are the most for the Irish since the 1989-90 season. The school record for wins in a season is 27 set during the 1980-81 campaign.
The win gave Notre Dame an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, which begins May 11-13 at campus sites. The full 64-team draw will be announced on Tuesday, May 1, on ESPNews at 2:30 ET.
It was the sixth BIG EAST title for the Irish since joining the conference, having also claimed championships in 1996, ’99, 2002, ’04 and `05.
Notre Dame captured the doubles point, despite dropping its first match (either singles or doubles) in the BIG EAST Championship.
The duo of senior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland) and junior Andrew Roth (Houston, TX) topped Chris Herrlinger and James McArthur, 8-1, in the first match at No. 3. The victory moves the tandem to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in dual matches.
Louisville’s David Simon and Robert Rotaru fought back, winning the match at No. 2 against junior Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) and sophomore Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, KS), 8-2. Parbhu and Helgeson drop to 2-1 on the season and 2-1 in dual action.
The split in the first two matches set the stage at No. 1 doubles. The deciding match went back and forth, lasting over an hour, before senior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, NY) and senior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, IN) outlasted Damar Johnson and Slavko Radman, 9-7. Bass and Keckley, now 6-0 overall and 6-0 in dual matches, have knocked off the 22nd-ranked Cardinals duo twice this season.
Leading 1-0 entering singles, Notre Dame picked up three relatively easy, straight-set victories at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 1.
Helgeson gave the Irish a 2-0 lead following his dominating triumph at No. 3. Helgeson breezed past Kenneth Nordheim 6-1, 6-0. Helgeson now stands 29-7 overall and 21-4 in dual play. He extended his winning streak to five matches.
King pushed the Irish on the brink of the title with his win at No. 4. He had little difficulty getting past Rotaru in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. King improves to 33-7 overall and 22-3 in dual action. The 33 overall wins and 22 dual match victories are tied for the team-high with Bass.
Bass defeated Radman in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the title for the Irish. He registered his team-high tying 33rd victory of the season. Bass, 33-9 overall, improves to 22-3 in dual action, including 20-3 at the top spot of the Notre Dame lineup.
Notre Dame did not drop a single point in its three wins over Villanova, St. John’s and Louisville en route to the title.
#4 NOTRE DAME 4, LOUISVILLE 0
1. #9 Stephen Bass (ND) def. #68 Slavko Radman (UL); 6-3, 6-2
2. Sheeva Parbhu (ND) vs. Damar Johnson (UL); 4-6, 3-4
3. Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Kenneth Nordheim (UL); 6-1, 6-0
4. Barry King (ND) def. Robert Rotaru (UL); 6-1, 6-1
5. Ryan Keckley (ND) led David Simon (UL); 6-1, 2-4
6. Andrew Roth (ND) led Horatio Oltean (UL); 6-2, 1-4
1. Keckley/Bass (ND) def. #22 Johnson/Radman (UL); 9-7
2. Simon/Rotaru (UL) def. Helgeson/Parbhu (ND); 8-2
3. King/Roth (ND) def. Chris Herrlinger/James McArthur (UL); 8-1
— ND —