Sept. 22, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. –
The Notre Dame men’s tennis team opened its season Friday, September 22 by posting a sparkling 14-0 record in singles play and a 2-1 mark in doubles in day one action Notre Dame’s 38th annual Tom Fallon Invitational.
Rainy conditions moved the four-team event inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion, but the rains could not put a damper on the fall season debut.
The Irish were clutch in tight matches as they won all three singles contests that went to a match tiebreaker.
Sheeva Parbhu, ranked 20th nationally (the highest ranked player on any of the four participating teams) cruised over Joe Epkey of Ball State 7-5, 6-1, before winning a tough battle over a resilient Western Michigan Bronco Tim Bradshaw, 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (11-9). Parbhu, fresh off an NCAA quarterfinal appearance, now holds a 67-15 career singles record and has the best winning percentage on the team.
Seniors Ryan Keckley, Barry King, and Irackli Akhvlediani provided steady leadership for an experienced Irish squad as the trio won all twelve singles sets they played to anchor the Irish attack.
Sophomore Brett Helgeson scored the lone Irish win over a ranked opponent when he downed Brady Crosby, ranked 94th nationally, 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-7). Helgeson’s two victories on the day improved his record to 9-1 in open competition.
Notre Dame freshmen Patrick Callaghan and Sean Corrigan were each victorious in their Irish debuts. Callaghan defeated Western Michigan junior R.K. Bacalla 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6), while Corrigan was victorious over Purdue’s Jose Fuenmayor 8-5.
The lone ranked doubles team to take the court Friday, Notre Dame’s Ryan Keckley and Sheeva Parbhu, ranked 36th nationally outlasted a veteran Boilermaker team of Kurt Zaske and Paul Rose 9-7. The Irish duo earned just their fifth career victory as a team in nine matches played.
Barry King and Brett Helgeson were 8-3 victors over Purdue’s Scott Warner and Branko Kuzmanovic. It was the first match the duo had played together. Helgeson and King will look to strengthen the doubles line-up, where the Irish struggled last season, notching a 47-47 record in partnered play.
The three-day invitational continues tomorrow when the Irish will resume action at 8:30 a.m. playing singles against Purdue. Notre Dame will take on Ball State and Western Michigan in doubles play later Saturday afternoon.