Senior Stephen Bass.

No. 9 Irish Men's Tennis Cruises Past No. 22 Michigan, 5-2

Feb. 23, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 9 Notre Dame men’s tennis team rebounded from a poor doubles performance with a dominating singles effort in a 5-2 victory over No. 22 Michigan Friday night inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish improved to 9-2 on the season, while the Wolverines dropped to 7-2.

“Michigan was tremendous in doubles, but I was disappointed with our inability to match their level of intensity early in the match,” said head coach Bobby Bayliss. “However, I was equally proud of our ability to rebound from that disappointment in singles. Michigan is a pretty darn, good team and to beat them with five straight-set victories was impressive.”

Michigan won the doubles point in relative convincing fashion, but Notre Dame got straight-set wins in five of the six singles matches to earn the victory.

Seniors Stephen Bass (Bronxville, NY) and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, IN), both of whom suffered losses in doubles, answered with dominating straight-set victories.

“The momentum totally changed following Stephen’s and Ryan’s matches,” said Bayliss. “For them to come out and lose just four games in four sets really took some pressure off our other guys and allowed them to play as well as they did.”

Bass tied the match, 1-1, with one of his most impressive outings of the season at No. 1. He annihilated #34 Matko Maravic of Michigan, 6-0, 6-1. The victory is the 10th of the season for Bass over a nationally ranked opponent. He became the first Irish player to reach the 20-win plateau (20-8) and improved to 9-2 in dual matches. Bass is now 93-43 for his career. His 93 career singles wins are ninth best in school history and just three shy of eighth place.

Keckley gave Notre Dame thr lead for good, 2-1, following an equally impressive outing at No. 4. He routed Ryan Heller, 6-1, 6-2, for his 15th victory of the season (15-3). Keckley also upped his team-best dual match record to 8-1.

Junior Andrew Roth (Houston, TX) pushed the Irish lead to 3-1 after his 7-6 (1), 6-1 straight-set victory over Mike Sroczynski at No. 6. Roth looked in-line to drop the opening set, trailing 4-5 and 5-6, but the southpaw fought off match point and rallied for a 7-1 victory in the tiebreaker. He carried that momentum into the second set against Sroczynski and cruised. Roth, who snapped a two-match losing streak, improved to 13-9 overall and 5-4 in dual matches.

At No. 3, sophomore Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, KS) clinched the victory for Notre Dame (his second match clinching victory of the year). Helgeson upended Andrew Mazlin, 6-4, 6-4, in straight sets. He improved to 16-5 overall and 8-2 in dual matches.

Senior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland) provided the fifth consecutive, straight-set victory for the Irish giving them a 5-1 lead. King breezed past Steve Peretz, 6-3, 6-1, for his team-best fifth consecutive victory. King now stands 19-6 overall and 8-2 in dual matches. King has 76 career victories which ranks 19th all-time in Notre Dame school history.

Michigan captured its only match in singles at No. 2. #63 Brian Hung upset #27 junior Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) in straight-sets, 6-4, 7-5, to close the scoring at 5-2. Parbhu dropped to 17-9 overall and 7-3 in dual action. The defeat snapped his five-match winning streak.

Michigan took the doubles all-important doubles point with victories at No. 1 and No. 3. The Wolverines’ third-ranked duo of Maravic and Hung knocked off ninth-ranked Keckley and Parbhu, 8-3. Maravic and Hung improved to 16-3 overall and 8-1 in dual matches, while Keckley and Parbhu dropped to 19-7 overall and 5-6. The Irish’s top doubles duo jumped out to an early 2-1 lead, but Maravic and Hung won the next three games to grab a 4-2 advantage. Notre Dame drew within a point, 4-3, but Michigan left no doubt after capturing the final four games of the match.

The Wolverines sealed the doubles point with their victory at No. 3. Similar to No. 1 doubles, the Irish tandem of Bass and Roth grabbed an early 2-1 lead, but Sroczynski and George Navas responded with four straight games to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Notre Dame did climb as close as two games, 5-3, but it was not enough as Sroczynski and Navas won the match, 8-4. Bass and Roth dropped to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in dual action.

The No. 2 doubles match between Helgeson and King of Notre Dame and Heller and Mazlin of Michigan was haulted with the score, 6-5, in favor of the Irish.

With the victory, Notre Dame improves its record to 27-41 all-time against Michigan. The Irish have captured six consecutive meetings (including this year) and 17 of the last 20 from the Wolverines. Notre Dame improved to 19-23 against Michigan in South Bend. The Wolverines have lost their last 11 meetings on the Irish’s home court – a span that dates back to the 1989 season.

The Irish return to action on Sunday afternoon with a match against No. 45 and Midwest Regional rival Northwestern. First-serve with the Wildcats is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Notre Dame leads the all-time series against Northwestern, 38-36-1 and have won three consecutive and seven of their last eight against the `Cats.

1. #11 Stephen Bass (ND) def. #34 Matko Maravic (UM), 6-0, 6-1
2. #63 Brian Hung (UM) def. #27 Sheeva Parbhu (ND), 6-4, 7-5
*3. #94 Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Andrew Mazlin (UM), 6-4, 6-4
4. Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Ryan Heller (UM), 6-1, 6-2
5. Barry King (ND) def. Steve Peretz (UM), 6-3, 6-1
6. Andrew Roth (ND) def. Mike Sroczynski (UM), 7-6 (1), 6-1
Order of finish: 1,4,6,3,5,2
* clinching point

*1. #3 Maravic/Hung (UM) def. #9 Keckley/Parbhu (ND), 8-3
2. King/Helgeson (ND) vs. Heller/Mazlin (UM), 6-5, unfinished
3. Sroczynski/George Navas (UM) def. Bass/Roth (ND), 8-4
Order of finish: 3,1
* clinching point

— ND —