March 28, 2008
The Notre Dame men’s tennis team dropped all six first sets to the visiting and second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes Friday afternoon inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion and could not rebound, dropping the match by a 6-1 score. Freshman Daniel Stahl earned the only point for the Irish with a come-from-behind win at No. 6 after fighting off two match points. The loss was the fourth in a row for Notre Dame (10-8) and second at home this season.
After earning the doubles point, Ohio State (19-1) earned its first singles point with a win from Bryan Koniecko at No.1. The Buckeye junior made short work of Notre Dame junior Brett Helgeson, 6-4, 6-2. Helgeson used a break in the first game of the match to jump out to a 4-2 lead, but would drop ten of the next twelve games including seven in row. He dropped to 9-7 on the dual season and fell for the second time this week.
The Buckeyes made it 3-0 at No. 2 when 27th-ranked Steven Moneke upended 83rd-ranked Sheeva Parbhu 6-3, 6-4. Moneke broke the Irish captain at 2-2 in the first set and earned a second break later in the set for the win. The second set was tightly contested with Parbhu earning the early advantage before Moneke broke back to get the set on serve. The Buckeye junior earned the decisive break in the match’s final game to secure the victory. The win was Moneke’s 11th in a row and improved him to 16-1 in dual play this season. Parbhu dropped to 21-10 this season including 5-6 against nationally ranked players.
Ohio State clinched the match with a straight-set win at No.3 from 19th ranked Justin Kronauge. The Buckeye sophomore defeated Andrew Roth 6-2, 7-6 (4). Roth and Kronauge split the match’s first four games before the Buckeye ran off four straight games to take the first set. The second set was close throughout with neither player gaining more than a one-game advantage. Roth took an early 2-1 lead in the tiebreaker before dropping four of the next five points to fall behind 5-3. Kronauge won the final two points of the match on his serve to earn the win. Roth fell to 8-14 on the year.
David Anderson could not dig out of a first-set hole and fell 6-1, 6-4 to Balazs Novak at No. 5. Anderson fell behind 4-1 in the second set before winning the next two games to close to within 4-3. He could not tie the set however, and fell for the second time in as many matches. The Irish freshmen saw his record fall to 15-11 on the year.
Fellow Irish freshman Stahl played a gritty match at No. 6, playing two tie-breakers before securing the three-set win over Mike O’Connell. Stahl took a 4-1 advantage in the first set before dropping the next four games. He rebounded to send the match to a tiebreaker, but could not gain an advantage in the decisive game and fell 7-5. The Notre Dame rookie rebounded in the second set, earning a late break to earn the split, 6-3. With the team match decided, O’Connell and Stahl played a back-and-forth match tiebreaker that saw the score tied at five all. The Ohio State sophomore, playing in his first dual contest all season, won four of the next six points to take a 9-7 advantage. Stahl answered, however, winning the match’s final four points, staving off two match points in the process to earn a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 1-0 (11-9) win. The win was the second come-from behind win of the season for Stahl and it ran his record to 20-8 on the year. Stephen Havens had a chance to pull off the same feat as his teammate, but fell short in his comeback effort against Shuhei Uzawa at No.4. The freshmen fell 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, and saw his season mark drop to 17-15. Havens won the match’s initial game before the Buckeye freshman won six of the next seven games to win the first set. The two rookies battled to 3-3 in the second set before Havens earned a break to take the lead. The Irish freshman won the next two games as well to take the second set. The players traded a series of holds in the final set before Uzawa broke through at 4-4. He would hold in the match’s final game to earn the final Buckeye point.
The Buckeyes struck first in doubles, capturing the first match at the No. 3 position. Tyler Davis and Havens split the first four games with Uzawa and Kronauge, but would not win another game the rest of the way, dropping the match 8-2. The loss was the first of the dual season for the freshman pair, and snapped a six-match winning streak as a team. The duo fell to 10-4 on the season and 5-1 in dual play.
The visitors clinched the doubles point with a win at the No. 2 position. Koniecko and Stephen Moneke fell behind Roth and Santiago Montoya 4-3 before running off five straight games, breaking each Irish player’s serve once on their way to an 8-4 triumph. The Irish pair fought off two match points at 7-4 before the Buckeye pair converted on their third opportunity to clinch the doubles point with an 8-4 win. Montoya and Roth dropped their second match in as many outings and saw their record fall to 4-3 on the year.
The bright spot for the Irish in doubles came from veterans Parbhu and Helgeson at No. 1. The pair earned their best win of the season, a hard-fought 9-7 victory over the nation’s 25th ranked team of O’Connell and Matt Allare of Ohio State. The Irish pair was broken twice, once at 2-2 and again at five all. Each time Parbhu and Helgeson responded with a break of their own, to knot the match. After surging to an 8-7 lead, the Irish were able to earn a break at love in the match’s final game to secure the win. The Notre Dame pair won for just the second time in six matches against ranked teams. They also sent the Buckeye team to just their third loss in ten dual matches this season.
Notre Dame will look get back on track next Friday when they host state rival Ball State at 4:00 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame has won 17 straight matches against the Cardinals.