Junior Sheeva Parbhu.

Notre Dame Tops USC 6-1

Oct. 14, 2005

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The men’s tennis team kicked off a big athletics weekend at the University of Notre Dame with a 6-1 triumph over the University of Southern California in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Friday in an exhibition dual match. The Irish won the doubles point and got four straight-set wins in singles, as well as a three-setter, to register their most-lopsided victory ever against the Trojans, 16-time national champions.

Since it was played concurrently with the meeting between the schools in women’s tennis, an alternate schedule was used. The Nos. 4-6 matches started things off, and ND won at the bottom two positions there to take a 2-1 advantage. The doubles followed, and the Irish took a tight match at No. 2 in the final contest remaining to go up 3-1. Notre Dame then swept the Nos. 1-3 singles affairs without dropping a set.

The Irish senior captain, Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), put Notre Dame ahead with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Jeff Kazarian at No. 5 singles. Buchanan continued his strong play this fall, improving to 5-0.

The Trojans struck back with what would turn out to be their only tally of the day, when Chong Wang upset 89th-ranked Notre Dame senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) at No. 4 singles. Irish junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) then rallied from dropping an opening set tiebreaker to defeat Brian Wright 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 to put Notre Dame ahead for good.

The evening session of the match got underway with doubles action, and Notre Dame came out swiftly. Junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) earned an 8-2 victory over Wright and Wang at No. 3, but the team of Jeff Kazarian and Kaes Van’t Hof knocked off Notre Dame’s hottest doubles team, Keckley and Langenkamp, 8-5 at No. 1. The point came down to the No. 2 match, where sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) outlasted Adam Loucks and Garrett Snyder 9-7 at No. 2.

Helgeson – who is just the second Notre Dame freshman ever to be listed in the ITA’s preseason national rankings, at 108th – wasted little time in clinching the Irish triumph. He defeated Snyder 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Parbhu, ranked 77th, followed suit with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Loucks at No. 2. The 74th-ranked Bass prevailed in the lone match featuring two ranked players, as he beat #124 Van’t Hof 7-6, 6-4 at No. 1 to provide the final margin.

The Irish and USC have met on 15 occasions, but six of those have been in exhibition matches. In all of the contests, ND has just three victories, but the previous two were both notable. The Irish upset the #1-ranked Trojans in the semifinals of the 1992 NCAA Championship by a 5-4 score en route to the best ND finish since the current NCAA format was adopted in 1977. The other victory came by a 5-2 score in the fall of 2001 in exhibition play. That Irish team returned to the round of 16 of the NCAAs for the first time in eight years, while the Trojans went on to claim the 2002 national championship.

In what has become a definite anomaly in the collegiate game increasingly dominated by foreign talent, both the Irish and Trojans – two teams that have traditionally stayed in the U.S. to build their programs – used lineups composed entirely of Americans on Friday.

The teams also played Nos. 7 and 8 singles matches during the afternoon, though they did not figure into the final dual-match score. Roth prevailed at the higher position 6-3, 6-2 against Aaron Badart, while USC’s Whit Livingston won 7-5, 6-0 at No. 8 against Notre Dame freshman Santiago Montoya (Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]).

The Irish will return to action next week, taking part in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Championships from Oct. 20-25 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The annual indoor championships of the Midwest Region, the event will be the final one of the fall that the full Notre Dame team will participate in. It is possible that some members of the Irish will then earn invitations to the season’s second grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, slated for Nov. 3-6 at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Notre Dame 6, USC 1Notre Dame, Indiana, Eck Tennis Pavilion (Indoors)SinglesNo. 1: #74 Stephen Bass (ND) d. #124 Kaes Van't Hof (USC) 7-6, 6-4No. 2: #77 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) d. Adam Loucks (USC) 6-2, 6-4No. 3: #108 Brett Helgeson (ND) d. Garrett Snyder (USC) 6-1, 6-3No. 4: Chong Wang (USC) d. #89 Eric Langenkamp (ND) 6-4, 6-3No. 5: Patrick Buchanan (ND) d. Jeff Kazarian (USC) 6-0, 6-2No. 6: Ryan Keckley (ND) d. Brian Wright (USC) 6-7, 6-4, 6-1(No. 7: Andrew Roth (ND) d. Aaron Badart (USC) 6-3, 6-2)(No. 8: Whit Livingston (USC) d. Santiago Montoya (ND) 7-5, 6-0)Order of Finish: 5, 4, 6, 3*, 2, 1DoublesNo. 1: Kazarian/Van't Hof (USC) d. Keckley/Langenkamp (ND) 8-5No. 2: Helgeson/Parbhu (ND) d. Loucks/Snyder (USC) 9-7No. 3: Bass/Roth (ND) d. Wang/Wright (USC) 8-2Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2** - indicates clinching victory