April 1, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 5 Notre Dame men’s tennis team rebounded from its disappointing effort against No. 3 Ohio State on Friday with a resounding 5-2 victory over No. 8 Illinois on Sunday afternoon inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish improve to 18-3 overall, while the Fighting Illini drop to 11-5. Notre Dame also snapped its six-match losing streak to Illinois.
After the Fighting Illini captured the doubles point, junior Andrew Roth (Houston, TX) quickly tied the match, 1-1, at No. 6 singles with a convincing, straight-set victory over Jordan Knue, 6-1, 6-2. Roth improves to 19-11 overall and 11-6 in dual matches. He has captured seven of his last nine matches. Sunday marked the second time this season that Roth was the first Irish player off the court.
Senior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, IN) pushed Notre Dame into the lead, 2-1, with his straight-set victory over Brandon Davis at No. 5. Keckley found himself behind in each set (3-2), but managed to rally for the victory. He improves to 20-5 overall and 13-3 in dual matches.
Junior #54 Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) gave Notre Dame a 3-1 lead following his win over GD Jones at No. 2. Parbhu was the third straight Irish singles player to pick up a victory. He did not exactly get off to a blazing start, dropping the opening set, 6-2, but the 2006 All-American showed his merit over the final two sets. Parbhu evened the match at a set apiece with his 6-2 rout before closing out Jones, 6-3, in the third and final set. He improves to 25-10 overall and 15-4 in dual action. Even more impressive, the victory was his seventh this season when losing the opening set. Parbhu now stands 90-25 overall and 55-12 in dual matches over his three-year career. He is just one overall victory from tying Luis Haddock (2001-04) for 10th place on the Irish all-time list.
Senior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland) clinched the victory at No. 4 for Notre Dame. King dropped the opening set to Marc Spicijaric in a tiebreaker 7-6 (5), but following with back-to-back routs in the final two sets, 6-1, 6-2. King improves to 27-7 overall and 16-3 in dual action. King leads Notre Dame with five match-clinching wins this season.
Senior #8 Stephen Bass (Bronxville, NY) also rallied from a tough opening set in his victory over #6 Kevin Anderson at No. 1. Bass appeared in good shape to capture the first set, leading 4-3, but Anderson won the final three games, including breaking Bass for set point. Bass rebounded in the next set and breezed past Anderson for a 6-2 win. The two top-10 players went back-and-forth in a seesaw third and final set. With the match tied, 5-5, Bass grabbed a 6-5 lead on serve and broke Anderson to secure a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. He improves to 28-9 overall and 17-3 in dual play. The victory is his 14th this season against a ranked foe, sixth against a player ranked among the top 20 and third versus a top 10 opponent. Bass now stands 101-44 overall and 63-31 in dual matches over his Irish career. The 101 victories for Bass leaves him in a three-way tie with Ron Rosas (1990-93) and Michael Sprouse (1993-96) for sixth all-time at Notre Dame.
With the Irish ahead 5-1 and the match decided, #12 Ryan Rowe outlasted sophomore #103 Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, KS) at No. 3. Helgeson took the opening set, 6-4, and was tied, 4-4, in the second set and 5-5 in the third set, but Rowe was able to survive the upset bid with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory. Helgeson drops to 24-7 overall and 16-4 in dual matches.
The Fighting Illini took the all-important doubles point from the Irish. Anderson and Rowe opened doubles action with an 8-4 victory over Notre Dame’s seventh-ranked tandem of Keckley and Parbhu at No. 1. Keckley and Parbhu jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Anderson and Rowe took command of the match with five straight games to grab a 5-2 lead and never looked back. Keckley and Parbhu drop to 21-13 overall and 7-12 in dual matches. The duo has dropped six of their last seven matches.
The Illini clinched the doubles point at the No. 2 position. Jones and Spicijaric knocked off King and Helgeson by a score of 8-4. Similar to the No. 1 doubles match, King and Helgeson grabbed an early 2-1 advantage, but the Illinois duo regained control of the match with four consecutive games to take a 5-2 lead. King and Helgeson were not able to draw any closer. They drop to 20-9 overall and 12-6 in dual action.
The lone doubles highlight took place at No. 3. Bass and Roth rallied past Brandon Davis and Jordan Knue, 8-7 (3). Bass and Roth, who were the only doubles team to register a victory against No. 3 Ohio State on Friday, were on the brink of a loss, trailing 7-3, but took four straight games to tie the score, 7-7, to set up the tie-breaker. The Irish duo cruised in the extra-session for the victory. Bass and Roth improve to 15-5 overall and 12-4 in dual action.
Notre Dame returns to action on Saturday, April 7 at SMU. First-serve with the Mustangs is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (CDT).
#5 NOTRE DAME 5, #8 ILLINOIS 2
1. #8 Stephen Bass (ND) def. #6 Kevin Anderson (Illinois); 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
2. #54 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. GD Jones (Illinois); 2-6, 6-2, 6-3
3. #12 Ryan Rowe (Illinois) def. #103 Brett Helgeson (ND); 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
*4. Barry King (ND) def. Marc Spicijaric (Illinois); 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2
5. Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Brandon Davis (Illinois); 6-4, 6-4
6. Andrew Roth (ND) def. Jordan Knue (Illinois); 6-1, 6-2
Order of finish: 6,5,2,4,1,3
* clinching point
1. Anderson/Rowe (Illinois) def. #7 Parbhu/Keckley (ND); 8-4
*2. Spicijaric/Jones (Illinois) def. King/Helgeson (ND); 8-4
3. Bass/Roth (ND) def. Davis/Knue (Illinois); 8-7 (3)
Order of finish: 1,2,3
* clinching point
— ND —