April 9, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 32nd-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (16-6) lost just one set each in singles and doubles en route to a 6-1 victory over #62 Ball State (16-8) Saturday afternoon at the Courtney Tennis Center. The Irish improved to 9-1 against Midwest Region opponents and won their final regular-season match for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons.
Notre Dame won the bottom two matches in singles to take a 1-0 lead and then notched straight-set wins in five of six singles matches to go up 6-0. In the last match on court, Ball State rallied for a second-set victory and then prevailed in a match tiebreaker at No. 5 to avoid the shutout. In all the Irish dropped just 35 games in singles, an average of fewer than six per contest.
Sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) provided clinching victories in both singles and doubles – with sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) – and he was joined by sophomore Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) as double winners. Senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) was victorious in singles in the final home match of his career, while junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) also registered a singles victory.
The Irish won the doubles point for the third consecutive match after having dropped it in four straight prior to that. It was the 13th time in 22 matches that Notre Dame began with a 1-0 advantage. The point came down to the No. 2 match, where King and Keckley defeated Matt Laramore and Brad Rhodes 8-5. The Irish team is perfect in four matches since first being paired together on March 26. They have wins against Michigan, Purdue, SMU, and the Cardinals, with each of the last three clinching the doubles point for Notre Dame. They are now 2-0 as the final match left with the doubles point on the line. Keckley moved to 18-12 on the season and 14-8 in dual action, while picking up his team-high seventh clinching victory of the season. King moved over .500 for the season, at 13-12, and won his fourth straight match after notching just four wins in his first 12 contests of the spring.
Off the court first were Bass and Parbhu, who beat Klint Knable and Paul Newman 8-4 at No. 3. It was the second consecutive victory for the team, which was first paired together just four matches ago. The freshman improved his doubles record to 18-13, including 12-7 in dual action, while Bass evened his mark at 12-12.
Ball State struck back with a victory at No. 1 from Matt Baccarani and Patrick Thompson, ranked 25th in the nation, who beat D’Amico and Langenkamp 8-5. Three of the last four defeats for that Notre Dame team have come against nationally-ranked teams. The BSU team is 23-5 on the season, including 16-3 in dual action at No. 1.
Done first in singles was Parbhu, who beat Tony Epkey 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 for his fourth consecutive victory and 11th in his last 13 matches. The Notre Dame rookie turned in his team-best 29th singles win of the season (in 36 matches). He is 17-3 in dual-match action, mostly at No. 4, and he finished 13-3 in home contests. Parbhu holds a 16-4 record in outdoor play and is 11-2 against the Midwest Region.
D’Amico dropped just two games in his final home match, beating the South African, Newman, 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3. It was his fifth consecutive victory at No. 3, dating back to last season. D’Amico has now won two straight – losing just six total games in those matches – after having previously dropped 10 of 12. He is 15-13 on the season and has won 18 in a row when taking the opening set. D’Amico evened his career singles dual-match record at 32-32 and concluded his career with a 26-17 (.605) mark at home in singles play.
King, who moved back into the national rankings earlier this week at 113th, delivered his fifth clinching victory of the season (tied for team best), topping Laramore 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2. He has won 13 of his last 16 matches and is 14-8 on the season, including 17-5 in dual action at Nos. 2 and 3.
Langenkamp then beat Patrick Thompson 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6. He remained perfect this spring, improving to 5-0 in dual action at No. 6 and 13-4 on the season. Langenkamp has won 10 consecutive home matches, dating back to last year (9-0 in 2004-05) and holds a 22-7 career mark at home. He is 8-1 in his career at the Courtney Tennis Center (6-0 this season) and 8-2 this season outdoors. Langenkamp is 10-4 in sets decided by two games or fewer.
Bass turned in a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over Matt Baccarani at No. 1. He is 24-11 this season, including 14-8 in dual action (7-5 at No. 1). Bass improved to 30-13 in his career in dual action, and he has won 28 consecutive matches (20-0 this season) when taking the first set. He also improved to 11-1 outdoors.
In the last match on court, Knable came back for a 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7) win over sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) at No. 5.
Notre Dame beat Ball State for the 16th consecutive time and became the first Irish team to win 16 matches in a season since the 2001-02 squad was 23-7.
There remains just one regular-season match for Notre Dame this season. The Irish will travel to #33 Ohio State on Wednesday for a Noon (EDT) contest.
#32 Notre Dame 6, #62 Ball State 1
No. 1: Stephen Bass (ND) def. Matt Baccarani (BSU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
No. 2: #113 Barry King (ND) def. Matt Laramore (BSU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Brent D’Amico (ND) def. Paul Newman (BSU) 6-0, 6-2
No. 4: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Tony Epkey (BSU) 6-2, 6-2
No. 5: Klint Knable (BSU) def. Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7)
No. 6: Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Patrick Thompson (BSU) 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 2*, 6, 1, 5
No. 1: #25 Baccarani/Thompson (BSU) def. D’Amico/Langenkamp (ND) 8-5
No. 2: Ryan Keckley/King (ND) def. Laramore/Brad Rhodes (BSU) 8-5
No. 3: S. Bass/Parbhu (ND) def. Knable/Newman (BSU) 8-4
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2*