Jan. 29, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 26th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (2-1) registered a 7-0 victory against #65 William & Mary (3-2) Sunday morning in the Eck Tennis Pavilion in the Irish spring home opener. Notre Dame won every match against the Tribe, which played the Irish to a 4-3 decision a year ago in a contest decided by the final set of the last match remaining.
Notre Dame won all three doubles matches for the first time in 15 contests, since doing so on March 6, 2005, against Saint Joseph’s. First off the court were senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), who prevailed 8-3 against Alex Cojanu – who had been 13-3 in doubles this season – and Billy Mulligan at No. 3. The Notre Dame duo is unbeaten in two matches together this season and now holds a 9-5 career mark together.
Clinching the doubles point were juniors Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), who won the final seven games in an 8-1 victory against Matt Rubenstein and Irishman Colin O’Brien at No. 1. The Irish duo earned their first victory as a team this season and improved to 7-2 in their careers together. Sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) won five of the final six games to defeat Stephen Ward and Dominic Pagon 8-6 at No. 2, completing the sweep. Ward (14-2) and Pagon (12-4) both came in with outstanding doubles records this season, while Helgeson improved to a team-best 7-2 in partnered play in 2005-06.
The Irish dropped just a pair of sets in the singles action. For the third time in as many matches this spring, Keckley was the quickest player off the court. He defeated Pagon of Jamaica 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 to improve to 5-1 this season, including 3-0 in dual action. Parbhu, ranked 14th in the nation, earned a straight-set victory over Alex Cojanu for the second consecutive season, winning 6-2, 6-0 to put the Irish within a point of victory. The Notre Dame sophomore improved to 13-3 this season and bounced back from a Friday-night loss to again avoid the first two-match losing streak in singles of his collegiate career, which has seen him go 45-10 (.818). Parbhu also has won eight in a row at home in singles.
King beat Rubenstein 6-4, 6-2 to earn the eighth match-clinching victory of his career and improve to 3-0 this season. Helgeson also won in straight sets, defeating another rookie, Mulligan, 7-5, 6-2 at No. 4. He is 10-1 in singles as a collegian and is unbeaten in three matches this spring.
Bass, ranked #8 in the nation, rallied to beat 57th-ranked Ward – who came in with a 15-4 mark – 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at No. 1. He leads the team in singles victories with a 15-2 record this season. Bass – who has won eight in a row at home in singles – earned his ninth triumph against a ranked player this season after having just four in his career prior to 2005-06.
Langenkamp, ranked 65th, staged a comeback to snap a two-match losing streak and beat freshman Alexander Zuck 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 6 to preserve the shutout.
Notre Dame has now won nine of its last 11 home openers and now holds a 22-match winning streak against teams ranked outside the national top 55. The Irish also have won 14 straight at home against non-top-50 opponents.
Sunday marked the first shutout by either team in the all-time series between the schools, which Notre Dame now leads 5-1. William & Mary is the highest-ranked team to lose 7-0 to the Irish since then-#50 Michigan State was shut out at ND on March 2, 2004.
Irish head coach Bob Bayliss improved to 14-0-1 in his career against William & Mary (5-0 during his time at Notre Dame). There are only two schools – Georgetown (17-0 record for Bayliss) and Purdue (15-0) – that Bayliss has beaten more times without losing. He also stands 14-0 against George Washington.
Next up for Notre Dame will be a trip to the state of North Carolina next weekend. The Irish will play at #31 UNC on Saturday at 1 p.m. (EST) and then challenge #8 Duke on Sunday at the same time.
#26 Notre Dame 7, #65 William & Mary 0SinglesNo. 1: #8 Stephen Bass (ND) def. #57 Stephen Ward (W&M) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3No. 2: #14 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Alex Cojanu (W&M) 6-2, 6-0No. 3: *Barry King (ND) def. Matt Rubenstein (W&M) 6-4, 6-2No. 4: Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Billy Mulligan (W&M) 7-5, 6-2No. 5: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Dominic Pagon (W&M) 6-1, 6-3No. 6: #65 Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Alexander Zuck (W&M) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4Order of Finish: 5, 2, 3*, 4, 1, 6DoublesNo. 1: *Keckley/King (ND) def. O'Brien/Rubenstein (W&M) 8-1No. 2: Helgeson/Parbhu (ND) def. Pagon/Ward (W&M) 8-6No. 3: Bass/Langenkamp (ND) def. Cojanu/Mulligan (W&M) 8-3Order of Finish: 3, 1*, 2