Sheeva Parbhu (left) and Brett Helgeson will lead the Irish into NCAA play beginning Saturday.

Notre Dame Set To Battle East Tennessee State In Opening Round Of NCAA Tournament

May 8, 2008

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2008 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis ChampionshipColumbus, Ohio • Stickney Tennis Center
First Round - Saturday, May 10[No. 2 seed] #2 Ohio State (32-1) vs. Cleveland State (18-5), 11:00 a.m. (ET)Live Scoring:
[No. 17-32 seed] #26 Notre Dame (16-10) vs. # 41 East Tennessee State (23-3), 2:00 p.m. (ET)Live Scoring:
Second Round - Sunday, May 11First Round Winners, 12:00 p.m. (ET)Live Scoring: (if ND wins Saturday)

#26 NOTRE DAME TO FACE EAST TENNESSEE STATE IN NCAA OPENING ROUND: The 26th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (16-10) will open action in the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (ET) by taking on Atlantic Sun champion East Tennessee State (23-3) at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus. Host and No. 2 overall seed Ohio State (32-1) will take on Horizon League champion Cleveland State (18-5) at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, with the winners meeting in Sunday’s second round at 12:00 p.m.

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame earned the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional and will open the NCAA tournament on the road after hosting first and second round action a year ago. For the tenth year in a row, the NCAA Championship consists of a 64-squad team tournament with the field featuring 31 conference champions receiving automatic berths and 33 at-large entrants, selected by the NCAA. The first and second rounds of the team championship will be played at 16 campus sites from Friday-Sunday. The 16 remaining teams will advance to the national site, the University of Tulsa’s Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., for the final four rounds, to be contested May 15-20. Since the current format was adopted, ND has been a Nos. 17-32 seed four times, previously losing in the second round in 2000 at UCLA, in the second round against Washington in `01 at Harvard, in the opening round vs. Louisville in `05 at Illinois and in the round of 16 against top-ranked Georgia two years ago. Contested since 1883, the national championship was the National Intercollegiate Championship through 1945, with the winner based on point standings from individual singles and doubles play. The format stayed constant, but the tournament became the NCAA Championship in 1946 and remained unchanged for the next 30 years. In 1977, the NCAA Championship became a 20-team event with all teams picked on an at-large basis. In 1994, the event developed into a regional format with the top eight teams in the country and eight regional winners advancing to a bracket of 16, played at a national site. In 1999, the 64-team championship dropped the regional format and implemented first- and second-round matches at 16 campus sites for every team in the championship. Notre Dame has qualified for the NCAA tournament in 17 of the last 18 seasons – a distinction matched by only 10 other Division I teams: Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA, and USC. Bayliss is one of only three Division I coaches – along with Georgia’s Manuel Diaz and Duke’s Jay Lapidus – to have led his current team to at least 17 NCAA bids in the last 18 years. Most of the best results for Notre Dame since the team format was adopted in 1977 came in the program’s first four berths into the championship, reaching the round of 16 in 1991 and `94, the quarterfinals in `93 and losing to Stanford in the `92 NCAA title match. The Irish reached the round of 16 in 2002 and `06 and `07. Notre Dame has won a pair of national titles, sharing the 1944 crown with Texas and Miami (Fla.) and earning another shared title with Tulane in 1959. Notre Dame is 16-16 all-time in NCAA Championship play. The Irish are 9-12 in NCAA competition when playing away from home, including 3-1 when playing on the opponents’ home courts. Notre Dame beat Georgia 5-4 in the quarterfinals in 1992 in Athens, downed Harvard 4-0 in the first round in 2001 in Cambridge and upset No. 16 seed Texas A&M 4-2 two years ago in College Station, but lost 4-2 at UCLA in the 2000 second round. The Irish are 5-4 in tournament action in South Bend. Notre Dame advanced through the first two rounds of the tournament in 2002 and in 2007. Notre Dame is 4-10 against higher-ranked teams and 11-6 vs. lower-ranked squads in the NCAAs, as well as 1-0 against teams with the same national ranking. ND’s record by round is as follows: 5-3 in the round of 64, 3-2 in the round of 32, 3-4 in regional tournaments, 2-5 in the round of 16, 1-1 in the quarterfinals, 1-0 in the semifinals, 0-1 in the championship.

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH: Bob Bayliss is in his 21st year at Notre Dame with a 388-180 (.683) record, while his 38-year career mark stands at 679-283-1 (.708). He is one of just six active NCAA Division I coaches to boast 600+ career victories. Bayliss has had just one losing season in his career and has seen his teams finish in the top 20 eleven times, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 on seven occasions, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 1993 and a national runner-up finish in ’92. He also is one of just three coaches in Division I to have led his current team to 17 NCAA tournaments over the last 18 seasons. Bayliss, named national coach of the year in 1980 and ’92, is a four-time ITA Midwest Region coach of the year and 14-time conference coach of the year (seven times in the last ten years in the BIG EAST, including 2004, `05, `07, and `08). In his time at Notre Dame, Bayliss’ teams have won 14 conference titles, while his players have earned All-America honors 19 times, won eight national ITA awards and earned 20 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 12 to the NCAA doubles tournament.

Brett Helgeson EARNS FIRST CAREER NCAA SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP BID: Notre Dame junior Brett Helgeson, after receiving the BIG EAST conference automatic bid, will compete in the NCAA singles tournament for the Irish. Helgeson makes it the third consecutive year in which an Irish player has participated in the event. Helgeson anchored the men’s team as the No. 1 singles player in the rotation. Over the season he played in all but two matches at the No. 1 spot, in which he amassed a record of 13-9, including 4-0 versus BIG EAST conference foes. Helgeson will enter the tournament on a bit of a hot streak, as he has been victorious in his last five matches. In those five victories he has taken down three nationally ranked opponents, including Louisville’s Austen Childs, ranked No. 39 nationally. Overall on the season Helgeson held an 11-7 record against nationally ranked opponents which he faced. Over the course of the season Helgeson saw his ITA ranking soar as high as No. 11 in the nation back on February 16, before finishing the season ranked No. 45. His best victory of the year came back on Oct. 20 when he defeated then-No. 2 Steven Moneke of Ohio State. The singles tournament will take place from May 21-26 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.

ND-OHIO STATE REGULAR-SEASON RECAP: The Notre Dame men’s tennis team dropped all six first sets to the visiting and second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes March 28 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 and second at home this season. After earning the doubles point, Ohio State 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.

PARBHU HONORED AT O.S.C.A.R.S.: The Notre Dame Athletics Department held the seventh annual O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements and Recognition Showcase) on April 30 at the Joyce Center honoring the more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2007-08 school year. The presentation of the three major athletics awards – the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and the Christopher Zorich Service Award – highlighted the evening’s festivities. Sheeva Parbhu joined women’s tennis player Brook Buck as recipients of the O’Connor Award. Since 1993, the University has presented this award in the name of O’Connor, a former student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat was the son of William “Bucky” O’Connor, who played guard for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940’s. The O’Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspirations to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O’Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience. In addition, Parbhu was tabbed as the recipient of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award for men’s tennis.

STAHL COMES THROUGH IN THE CLUTCH: Freshman Daniel Stahl showed his mettle over the last two weeks as he pulled through in the last two matches of the season with the match on the line. With the score tied 3-3 in the Big East Championship match against South Florida, the Irish rookie held off Diego Toledo 7-6 (4), 6-4 to give the Irish their second straight conference title. Less than a week later, Stahl won the clinching match yet again in Notre Dame’s best win of the season at #13 Florida State. With the score again knotted, Stahl won a three-set battle over Drew Bailey 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 for his 26th win of the year, good for third best on the team. The freshman has been cool under pressure all season as he has a 7-2 mark in matches decided in three sets or in a match tiebreak, including four come from behind wins.

CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 47-10 (.825) all-time record against conference foes, including a 29-5 (.853) record in the BIG EAST tournament. Prior to the 2006 season (when Louisville upset the Irish in the BIG EAST final), all nine defeats had come against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2004. Notre Dame has a 101-3 (.971) all-time record against current BIG EAST schools, having lost to Georgetown in 1962 and Louisville in the 2005 NCAA Tournament and 2006 BIG EAST Tournament. Following 60 years as an independent, the Irish were members of the Midwestern City Conference from 1982-83 to 1985-86, became and independent again for two seasons before competing in the MCC (then the Midwestern Collegiate Conference) again from 1988-89 to 1994-95 and then moving to the BIG EAST Conference beginning in 1995-96. In 22 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been league champs 13 times and won 16 consecutive matches against league foes from 1982-97.

ALL-TIME RECORDS AGAINST CURRENT BIG EAST TEAMS: See below Notre Dame’s all-time record against the current members of the conference.

School  Record vs.  BIG EAST Tournament LastConnecticut 1-0 1-0 1997 (BET)-W, 4-0DePaul          26-0    1-0 2008 (BET)-W, 4-1Georgetown  6-1 3-0 2006 (BET)-W, 4-0Louisville  7-2 1-1 2007 (BET)-W, 4-0Marquette   45-0    0-0 2005-W, 7-0Rutgers         6-0 6-0 2005 (BET)-W, 4-0St. John's  5-0 4-0 2007 (BET)-W, 4-0South Florida   3-0 2-0 2008 (BET)-W, 4-3Villanova   2-0 2-0 2008 (BET)-W, 4-0Totals          101-3   20-1

IRISH ONE OF 11 TEAMS TO HAVE BEEN IN 17+ NCAA TOURNAMENTS SINCE 1991: Since making its first appearance under the current format in 1991, Notre Dame has missed the NCAA Championship just once (2003). Only 10 other Division I schools have qualified for 17 or more NCAA tournaments in the last 18 seasons: Duke, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, TCU, UCLA and USC.

15 NOTRE DAME OPPONENTS EARN NCAA BIDS: Of Notre Dame’s 26 dual match opponents this spring, over half of them, (15) earned berths in the NCAA Championship: Virginia (No. 1 seed), Florida State (No. 14 seed), Wisconsin, Penn State, Boise State, South Florida, Kentucky, SMU, North Carolina (No. 12), UCLA (No. 3 seed), Duke, Michigan (No. 16 seed), Illinois (No. 15 seed), Tulsa (No. 11 seed) and Ohio State (No. 2 seed). The Irish went 7-9 against these teams (played Penn State twice).

PARBHU’S RUN ON THE RECORD BOOKS: Senior captain Sheeva Parbhu’s remarkable Irish career is coming to a close, but he will go down as one of the most decorated players in Notre Dame tennis history. Parbhu currently stands in the career top 10 in the following categories: singles wins (121, 5th), doubles wins (79, 4th), combined wins (200, fourth), and singles dual match wins (75, t-7th).

FRESH FACES: The 2008 version of the Notre Dame men’s tennis team has seen its share of newcomers get significant playing time this spring. Freshmen Stephen Havens, David Anderson, and Daniel Stahl have been mainstays at the bottom of the Notre Dame singles lineup. The rookies have combined to post a 63-43 singles mark this season, including 34-31 in dual play. The freshman have accounted for nearly half (45%) of all of Notre Dame’s dual wins this season and their .594 winning percentage is better than the team’s overall .592 winning percentage. Stahl owns the best singles winning percentage on the team (.765) and has the third most singles wins on the team (26). Freshman Tyler Davis has also been a mainstay in the Irish doubles lineup this season as he has posted a 23-13 record including 16-8 in dual play. He owns an 14-7 mark with fellow rookie Stephen Havens including 9-4 in spring duals.

PACK YOUR PEPTO: Notre Dame has been no stranger to gut-wrenching matches this season as ten of Notre Dame’s 27 dual matches have been decided by a score of 4-3, and eight have come down to the final match on the court. The Irish are a remarkable 8-2 in those matches, including 6-2 when the score is 3-3. The Irish had already clinched wins over Michigan State and Louisville when the Spartans and Cardinals won matches to cut the margin. When the score was tied, the Irish had four different players, including three freshmen, deliver clinching wins. David Anderson was the hero in a win at Duke, while Sheeva Parbhu posted back-to-back decisive wins over Wisconsin and SMU, as the Irish won three straight 4-3 decisions in February. Tyler Davis won the final match in the opening round of the Blue-Gray Classic to down North Carolina State, and Daniel Stahl gave the Irish their most recent wins against South Florida and Florida State with the match on the line. Notre Dame’s last NCAA match was also also decided by a 4-3 count as the Irish bowed out in last year’s round of 16 to USC.

THE HIGHS: The team’s current five match win streak matches its longest of the season…Notre Dame began the season by winning seven of its eight matches including a 4-3 victory at then-#15 Duke… Brett Helgeson began the season by winning his first 12 matches of the season and 17 of his first 18, and rose to 11th in the ITA singles rankings. The streak inlcuded a career-high singles win over Stephen Moneke of Ohio State who was ranked 2nd at the time of the match. It was the highest ranking of Helgeson’s career (previous high 60th). … Sheeva Parbhu earned a career-high singles win with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 defeat of #3 Dominic Inglot of Virginia…. Daniel Stahl has the longest active winning streak on the team, as the freshman has won seven in a row including lone Irish wins in 6-1 defeats at the hands of Ohio State and Michigan….The Irish are 13-1 this season when they win the doubles point.

THE LOWS: The Irish dropped six of eight contests from March 14 through April 12th, and lost four straight to Tulsa, Boise State, Kentucky, and Ohio State. The streak was the longest losing streak for the team since 2003, the last time the Irish missed the NCAA tournament… On April 6, #63 William & Mary became the lowest ranked team to defeat the Irish since March 15, 2003 when the Irish fell to #68 Boise State…Notre Dame is 3-8 when they drop the doubles point, and have lost the last six times they have failed to earn the match’s initial point.

SEVEN LOSSES HAVE COME TO TOP 15 TEAMS: Notre Dame is used to playing a diffcult schedule and this season is no different. The Irish are just 2-7 against teams ranked in the top 15 at the time of the match. Notre Dame posted wins over #15 Duke (4-3) and #13 Florida State (4-3), but fell to #1 Virginia (5-2), #8 UCLA (4-0), #12 North Carolina (5-0), #13 Illinois (6-1), #8 Tulsa (4-0), #2 Ohio State (6-1), and #15 Michigan (6-1).

ND’S 25-MATCH WINNING STREAK AT HOME ENDS: Notre Dame had won 25 consecutive matches at home since falling 6-1 to #3 Illinois in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on March 17, 2005. The streak ended with a 5-2 loss at the hands of #1 Virginia on January 27. The school record home winning streak is 30 matches, running from 1957-61.

KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, check the official athletic website, The website provides schedule and results information for varsity sports as well as game recaps and weekly releases . In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Ryan Kiefer at, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.