Aug. 19, 2006
DUBLIN, Ireland – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team concluded the exhibition slate on its European tour on Friday afternoon with a 9-2 victory against players from the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club at that facility in downtown Dublin. Just six days after the Irish (from Notre Dame) played a rare match on red clay in Vienna, Austria, the team tried out synthetic grass at Fitzwilliam, one of the most prestigious clubs in all of Ireland.
Notre Dame was able to practice at Fitzwilliam on Thursday, before taking the courts for a match against a squad of Irishmen who were mostly current or former players at United States colleges. The weather continued to be overcast, but the rains held off, as all nine players for both sides were able to get in a pair of matches. The first round of action saw three singles and three doubles matches contested – with Notre Dame prevailing in all but one affair – while the second cycle had four doubles matches and one singles contest. The event was organized in part by Notre Dame senior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) – a member of the Fitzwilliam Club thanks to his being the 18-and-under national champion of Ireland before enrolling in college – who has acted as tour guide and produced several memorable, and normally impossible, experiences for the travel party during their time on the Emerald Isle.
Six Irish players went undefeated on the day, with senior team captain Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) the only Notre Dame competitor to be unbeaten in singles and doubles throughout the European trip. Bass – who knocked off a player formerly ranked among the world’s top 150 last week in Vienna – beat Rory Green of Yale University 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (10-7) at No. 1 singles on Friday and then teamed with sophomore Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) for a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 victory against Green and Daniel Clancy in doubles to clinch Notre Dame’s victory in the overall competition. Helgeson began his day with a 6-3, 6-1 decision against Gary Kilduff, a former collegiate player at Winthrop University, at No. 3 singles.
It marked the final time that 2006 graduate Eric Langenkamp would represent Notre Dame in competition, and he went out with a pair of victories. First, he and sophomore Santiago Montoya (Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) won 6-2, 6-0 against Noah Fitzgerald and Simon Rafter. In the second round of action, Langenkamp and senior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) – who finished last season ranked 42nd in the nation and earned a bid to the NCAA Doubles Championship – prevailed 7-5, 6-2 against former Brown University standout Nick Malone and Derek Fluskey, who played at both the Universities of Evansville and New Mexico.
King also went unbeaten on his natural surface, first teaming with Keckley for a 6-0, 6-3 win against Fluskey and Paul Morrissey, who will be a freshman at Stanford this season. The Irishman then paired with junior Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) to win 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 against Kilduff and Fiachra Lennon. Parbhu began his day with a 7-5, 6-1 win against Clancy at No. 2 singles, while Morrissey played in the second round of singles, falling 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) to Notre Dame senior Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School).
Fitzwilliam got on the board in the opening round, when Malone and Lennon won 6-1, 6-1 against Akhvlediani and junior Brandon Pierpont (St. Petersburg, Fla./Tampa Prep School). The natives of Ireland then picked up a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Montoya and Pierpont in round two.
The team was treated to an outstanding dinner at Fitzwilliam after the match, and the Irishmen took care to show great hospitality to the Notre Dame student-athletes throughout the evening.
Notre Dame was originally scheduled to play another match in Ireland on Saturday, but that was cancelled. The team will conclude its European tour on Sunday, heading back to the United States in time to start classes on Tuesday. For full coverage of the trip, check the official website of Notre Dame athletics, www.und.com, by clicking on the European tour button on the men’s tennis page.
Notre Dame 9, Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club 2SinglesNo. 1: Stephen Bass (ND) def. Rory Green (F) 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (10-7)No. 2: Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Daniel Clancy (F) 7-5, 6-1No. 3: Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Gary Kilduff (F) 6-3, 6-1No. 4: Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Paul Morrissey (F) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)DoublesNo. 1: Ryan Keckley/Barry King (ND) def. Derek Fluskey/Morrissey (F) 6-0, 6-3No. 2: Eric Langenkamp/Santiago Montoya (ND) def. Noah Fitzgerald/Simon Rafter (F) 6-2, 6-0No. 3: Fiachra Lennon/Nick Malone (F) def. Akhvlediani/Brandon Pierpont (ND) 6-1, 6-1No. 4: King/Parbhu (ND) def. Kilduff/Lennon (F) 7-6 (9-7), 6-3No. 5: Keckley/Langenkamp (ND) def. Fluskey/Malone (F) 7-5, 6-2No. 6: * Bass/Helgeson (ND) def. Clancy/Green (F) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3No. 7: Fitzgerald/Rafter (F) def. Montoya/Pierpont (ND) 6-2, 6-2Order of Finish: 1D, 2D, 3D, 3S, 2S, 1S, 7D, 6D*, 5D, 4D, 4S* - indicates match-clinching victory
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