Senior Stephen Bass

No. 4 Irish Men's Tennis Opens BIG EASt Championship Friday

April 19, 2007

BIG EAST Championship Notes in PDF Format
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Tampa, Florida • USF Varsity Tennis Courts

Friday, April 21
Quarterfinals, 9 a.m. (ET) – [1] Notre Dame (21-3) vs. [8] Villanova (5-10)

Saturday, April 22
Semifinals, 9 a.m.

Sunday, April 23
Final, 9 a.m.

#4 NOTRE DAME LOOKS FOR THIRD BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP IN FOUR YEARS: The top-seeded and fourth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (21-3) will look for its sixth BIG EAST Conference Championship title this weekend at USF in Tampa. The Irish will open play against eighth-seeded Villanova (5-10) on Friday at 9 a.m. (ET) in quarterfinal action. With a victory, Notre Dame would then face either fourth-seeded DePaul (17-5) or fifth-seeded St. John’s (7-7) on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the semifinals, while the top contenders in the other half of the draw are second-seeded and 59th-ranked Louisville (8-14) and third-seeded USF (7-13). The title match will be Sunday at 9 a.m. Notre Dame has reached the final in all 11 years since becoming a conference member, winning championships in 1996, `99, 2002, `04 and `05 while the `03 title match was rained out in progress with no winner declared.

IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: Eight of the 12 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 eight teams, as selected by the conference based on national ranking and head-to-head results, earned invitations to the league championship, a single-elimination team tournament and the winner gaining the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, which begins on campus sites May 11-13. Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed in the event for the ninth time overall and third consecutive season. The Irish also came in as the top seed in 1996, ’97, ’98, ’99, `01, ’05, ’06 and `07. Notre Dame has reached the final of the BIG EAST tournament in all 11 years since becoming a conference member in 1995-96, winning championships in 1996, ’99, `02, ’04 and `05, while seeing the ’03 title match rained out.

Senior Stephen Bass is a leading candidate to be the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, as he is the highest-ranked singles player in the conference, at 9th. The top-ranked doubles team in the league is Notre Dame’s duo of senior Ryan Keckley and junior Sheeva Parbhu, which is ranked 15th. However, the duo has not played with one another over Notre Dame’s last four matches and is not scheduled to tandem this weekend either. The other nationally-ranked BIG EAST singles players are Louisville’s Slavko Radman (68th) and Notre Dame’s Sheeva Parbhu (81st). In doubles, the Louisville team of Radman and Damar Johnson are ranked 22nd, while Keckley and Bass are 52nd. Two former Irish players have won the tournament MVP award, as Ryan Sachire did so in 1999 and 2000, while Brent D’Amico captured it in 2005.

Head coach Bob Bayliss has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year five times in the last seven years. He is again a leading candidate for the award in ’07, as the Irish are the highest-ranked squad in the conference.

CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 41-10 (.804) all-time record against conference foes, including a 23-5 (.821) record in the BIG EAST tournament. Prior to last season (when Louisville upset the Irish in the BIG EAST final), all nine defeats had come against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2004. Notre Dame has a 95-3 (.969) all-time record against current BIG EAST schools, having lost to Georgetown in 1962 and Louisville in the 2005 NCAA Tournament and 2006 BIG EAST Tournament. Following 60 years as an independent, the Irish were members of the Midwestern City Conference from 1982-83 to 1985-86, became and independent again for two seasons before competing in the MCC (then the Midwestern Collegiate Conference) again from 1988-89 to 1994-95 and then moving to the BIG EAST Conference beginning in 1995-96. In 21 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been league champs 12 times and won 16 consecutive matches against league foes from 1982-97.

ALL-TIME RECORDS AGAINST CURRENT BIG EAST TEAMS: See below Notre Dame’s all-time record against the current members of the conference.

School          Record vs.  BIG EAST Tournament LastConnecticut 1-0         1-0                 1997 (BET)-W, 4-0DePaul          25-0            0-0                 1998-W, 5-1Georgetown  6-1         3-0                 2006 (BET)-W, 4-0Louisville  6-2         0-1                 2007-W, 6-1Marquette   45-0            0-0                 2005-W, 7-0Rutgers         6-0         6-0                 2005 (BET)-W, 4-0St. John's  4-0         3-0                 2005 (BET)-W, 4-1South Florida   2-0         1-0                 2006 (BET)-W, 4-0Villanova   0-0         0-0                 --Totals          95-3            14-1

ND FOURTH IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: After routing No. 54 Kentucky (7-0) and No. 58 Louisville (6-1) last week, Notre Dame moved up one spot into a tie for fourth with Baylor in the latest ITA Rankings, released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on Tuesday. The Irish started the season 13th and have risen in each of the 11 preceding polls. Notre Dame has been listed in each of the last 270 sets of ITA national rankings, dating back to March 2, 1990. In all, 18 of Notre Dame’s 24 regular-season opponents are listed among the 75 teams in this week’s rankings, with 10 of them in the top 25: #3 Ohio State (L, 7-0), #8 Virginia (L, 6-1), #8 Illinois (W, 5-2), #8 Duke (W, 6-1), #10 Pepperdine (L, 4-2), #13 Florida State (W, 5-2), #14 Alabama (W, 4-1), #15 Washington (W, 6-1), #18 Texas (W, 4-1), and #22 Michigan (W, 5-2).

ALL OF ND’S LOSSES TO TEAMS CURRENTLY IN TOP 20: All three of Notre Dame’s defeats have come against teams ranked among the top 20 in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings. In fact, all three were ranked in the top 10 at the match of those respective matches. Virginia (2nd) and Ohio State (3rd) are each currently ranked among the top three in the nation.

IRISH IN INDIVIDUAL ITA RANKINGS: Two singles players and two Irish doubles teams were listed in the latest individual national rankings, released April 17. Senior Stephen Bass leads the way at 9th in singles, with junior Sheeva Parbhu at 81st. In doubles, senior Ryan Keckley is ranked with two different partners, appearing at 15th with Parbhu and 52nd with Bass.

IRISH HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 20th year at Notre Dame with a 367-169 (.685) record, while his 37-year career mark stands at 658-272-1 (.707). He is one of just six active NCAA Division I coaches to boast 600+ career victories. Bayliss has had just one losing season in his career and has seen his teams finish in the top 20 nine times, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on five occasions, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 1993 and a national runner-up finish in ’92. He also is one of just three coaches in Division I to have led his current team to 14 NCAA tournaments over the last 15 seasons. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time ITA Midwest Region coach of the year and 12-time conference coach of the year (five times in the last nine years in the BIG EAST, including 2004 and `05). In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 12 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 18 times, won nine national ITA awards, and earned 18 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 12 to the NCAA doubles tournament.

KECKLEY EARNS TOP-20 RANKING WITH FIFTH DIFFERENT PARTNER: Notre Dame senior Ryan Keckley – the 2002 Indiana state singles champion and a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend – is the only Notre Dame player ever to be listed in the ITA national doubles rankings with six different partners, having earned a top-20 listing with five. He is currently listed 15th with junior Sheeva Parbhu – after being as high as 7th on March 20 – as well as 52nd with senior Stephen Bass. Keckley – who earned a national ranking in singles for the first time on March 21 of last season (115th) – was first listed 18th with graduated Luis Haddock following the fall of the 2003-04 season and then switched partners and peaked at 14th with departed Brent D’Amico later that spring. He has also been ranked as a tandem with senior teammate Barry King and graduated Eric Langenkamp.

ND GOES UNDEFEATED AT HOME FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE SEASON: After failing to finish an entire season (including both fall and spring) undefeated at home for 32 straight years, Notre Dame completed its second consecutive year perfect at home. The Irish won all won all nine of its home matches this spring, with none of those contests even being decided by a 4-3 score. Prior to last season (when Notre Dame went 8-0 in South Bend), the last time the Irish went unbeaten in the spring at home was during the 1991-92 season – which saw Notre Dame advance all the way to the title match of the NCAAs. But USC got an exhibition win at ND in the fall of that campaign, so the previous squad to truly go an entire season without tasting a home defeat was the ’73-74 unit that was 11-0 at home and 18-2 overall.

ND 7-3 AGAINST TOP-25 TEAMS: Notre Dame’s success has seen the Irish take on 10 squads ranked in the national top 25 at the time of the match. The Irish have wins against #8 Illinois (5-2), #8 Duke (6-1), #13 Florida State (5-2), #14 Alabama (4-1), #15 Washington (6-1), #18 Texas (4-1) and #22 Michigan (5-2). Their only defeats came against #3 Ohio State (7-0), #8 Virginia (6-1) and #10 Pepperdine (4-2).

ND BOASTING SCHOOL RECORD 21-MATCH WINNING STREAK AT HOME: Notre Dame has won 21 consecutive matches at home since falling 6-1 to #3 Illinois in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on March 17, 2005. The school record home winning streak is 30 matches, running from 1957-61.

KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Michael Bertsch at, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.