Oct. 18, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team split six singles matches with Ohio State – which finished last season ranked 12th after reaching the NCAA quarterfinals – on Sunday morning on the final day of play in the Wolverine Invitational at the Varsity Tennis Center. It completed a strong weekend in which Notre Dame posted a 17-7 record in singles matches, all against Midwest Region rivals.
The schools, which played last spring to a tight 4-3 decision won by OSU on the final match on court, were both without some of their top players, as they had split up their rosters to take part in multiple tournaments this weekend.
Irish sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) posted a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Scott Green to complete an undefeated event in singles competition. He stands at 5-2 on the season, with one of his defeats coming in a match tiebreaker and the other against the 56th-ranked player in college tennis. King now holds a 16-7 career record in matches away from Notre Dame, and he is 19-2 – including 10 straight victories – when winning the opening set.
Junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.) also was 3-0 in singles in the Wolverine Invitational, and he finished up with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Ross Wilson on Sunday. Wilson was strong at the bottom of the Buckeyes’ lineup last spring, going 17-6 in dual matches, including a three-set win against the Irish at No. 5. Buchanan is 7-1 this fall, with his lone loss coming in a match tiebreaker. He has won 15 of 16 sets this season and now holds a 22-11 record in his career in first-semester action. Buchanan, who is 20-10 in indoor matches, has won 15 consecutive matches when claiming the first set to improve his career record in that situation to 30-10.
Freshman Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) bounced back from his first collegiate loss (a three-setter on Saturday) by defeating another rookie, Dominick Ozanne, 6-3, 6-4. He is 6-1 as a collegian.
Junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) lost to a close match against a nationally-ranked player for the second time in as many days. On Sunday, it was 97th-ranked Joey Atas, who played No. 2 for Ohio State last spring and was ranked as high as 50th, who prevailed against Bass, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. The Irish junior is 6-2 on the season, with both of his losses coming against top-100 foes.
Notre Dame senior Jimmy Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) didn’t play on Sunday after going unbeaten in two matches in the Wolverine Invitational. Two Irish sophomores – Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) and Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) – had been 2-0 before falling on Sunday.
Irish teams ended up winning six of 11 matches in doubles, with two duos – those of Keckley and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and of Bass and King – winning two of three contests.
The Irish will return to Michigan’s Varsity Tennis Center in just four days for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Championships, the indoor fall singles and doubles championships of the Midwest Region, which features most of the Big Ten Conference and various other area schools. The singles finalists and the doubles champion will gain automatic entrance into the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, to be played in the same venue from Nov. 5-7. The Midwest Championships will feature a 64-player qualifying draw in singles on Thursday and Friday feeding into a 64-player main draw, to begin on Saturday, when the 64-team doubles draw also begins.
#97 Joey Atas (Ohio State) d. Stephen Bass (Notre Dame), 7-6 (8-6), 6-3
Barry King (ND) d. Scott Green (OSU), 6-4, 6-4
Dennis Mertens (OSU) d. Ryan Keckley (ND), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
Patrick Buchanan (ND) d. Ross Wilson (OSU), 6-4, 6-1
Drew Eberly (OSU) d. Irackli Akhvlediani (ND), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (12-10)
Andrew Roth (ND) d. Dominic Ozanne (OSU), 6-3, 6-4