April 11, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 6 Notre Dame men’s tennis team reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2002 following a 7-0 victory over No. 54 Kentucky on Senior Day inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion Wednesday. The Irish improve to 20-3 on the season, while the Wildcats drop to 13-13.
Notre Dame got singles wins from all three seniors in the lineup and each also picked up victories in doubles.
Notre Dame has won 20 or more matches on 14 different occasions in the 84-year history of the program. The Irish last reached 20 wins during the 2001-02 season when they finished the season at 23-7. Notre Dame also finished the regular season undefeated inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion (9-0). The Irish have posted back-to-back undefeated regular seasons at home for the first time in school history. In fact, Notre Dame has only gone unbeaten over an entire regular season at home on three previous occasions.
The Irish grabbed the all-important doubles point from the Wildcats. Notre Dame is a perfect 13-0 this season when winning the doubles point.
The Irish, which had not changed their doubles teams all season before yesterday’s victory over Ball State, stuck with the lineup change again today.
Stephen Bass (Sr./Bronxville, NY) and Ryan Keckley (Sr./South Bend, IN) played in the No. 1 doubles position, while Brett Helgeson (So./Overland Park, KS) and Sheeva Parbhu (Jr./Omaha, NE) were at No. 2 and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland) and Andrew Roth (Jr./Houston, TX) were at No. 3.
Bass and Keckley, playing in just their second doubles match this season, improved to 2-0 on the campaign with an 8-5 victory over Bruno Agostinelli and Kenny Hodge. Prior to yesterday, Bass and Keckley had not played a match alongside one another since Sept. 18, 2004.
King and Roth clinched the doubles point for Notre Dame. They raced out to a 4-1 lead only to have Shane Collins and Will Ward twice draw within a point, 4-3 and 5-4. King and Roth took control of the match and ran away with an 8-6 victory at No. 3. The duo improved to 3-0 on the season.
Helgeson and Parbhu trailed Marcus Sundh and Peter Bjork, 6-3, at No. 2 doubles when the match was halted.
Notre Dame quickly pushed its advantage to 2-0 following the dominating performance by Roth at No. 6 singles. The junior made quick work of Shane Collins, 6-0, 6-1, in straight sets. Roth is now 20-11 on the season overall and 12-6 in dual matches. He has been the first Irish player off the court in Notre Dame’s last three matches and five times this season. Over his last three matches, all victories, Roth has surrendered just four total games.
King gave Notre Dame a 3-0 lead with another straight-set victory at No. 4 singles. King defeated Jorge Jorge, 6-4, 6-3 for his 29th win of the season. He now stands 29-7 overall and 18-3 in dual matches. King ranks second on the Irish in both overall and dual action victories. With the victory, he moved into a tie with Mark McMahon (1980-83) for 12th all-time in Notre Dame singles victory history.
Keckley clinched the match for Notre Dame with a convincing 6-3, 6-1, straight-set victory over Hodge at No. 5. Keckley improves to 22-5 overall and 15-3 in dual play. He also leads the Irish in match-clinching victories with six.
Notre Dame took a 5-0 lead when Bjork, who trailed Parbhu, 6-4, 3-1 in the second set, retired from his match at No. 2 singles. Parbhu is now 27-10 on the season overall and 17-4 in dual matches. He also moved into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time Irish career wins list with 92.
Helgeson and Bass closed the scoring for Notre Dame with respective, straight-set triumphs at No. 3 and No. 1. Helgeson rallied from a 5-4 and 6-5 deficit to capture the opening set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (2), before cruising through the second set, 6-2, en route to a victory over Sundh. He improves to 26-7 overall and 18-4 in dual action. Bass survived a nip-and-tuck affair in his opening set against Agostinelli, 7-5, but rebounded with an impressive 6-3 triumph to close the match. Bass became the first Notre Dame player to eclipse the 30-win plateau this season. He now stands 30-9 on the year and 19-3 in dual play.
The Irish return to action this Saturday, April 14 at BIG EAST rival and 57th-ranked Louisville. First-serve between Notre Dame and the Cardinals is slated for 3:30 p.m. The Irish will look to avenge last season’s defeat in the BIG EAST Championship match.
#6 NOTRE DAME 7, #54 KENTUCKY 0
No. 1 – #9 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Bruno Agostinelli (UK); 7-5, 6-3
No. 2 – #51 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Peter Bjork (UK); 6-4, 3-1, ret.
No. 3 – #114 Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Marcus Sundh (UK); 7-6 (2), 6-2
No. 4 – Barry King (ND) def. Jorge Jorge (UK); 6-4, 6-3
*No. 5 – Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Kenny Hodge (UK); 6-3, 6-1
No. 6 – Andrew Roth (ND) def. Shane Collins (UK); 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6,4,5,2,3,1
* clinching point
*No. 1 – Keckley/Bass (ND) def. Agostinelli/Hodge (UK); 8-5
No. 2 – Parbhu/Helgeson (ND) def. Sundh/Bjork (BSU); 6-3, DNF
No. 3 – King/Roth (ND) def. Will Ward/Collins (UK); 8-6
Order of Finish: 3,1
* clinching point
— ND —