Feb. 15, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 31st-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team (6-4) completed a perfect four-match homestand with a 7-0 victory against #75 Michigan State (4-5) Wednesday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish – who have won seven in a row at home – dropped just two sets and improved to 4-1 this season against Big Ten Conference opponents.
Notre Dame dropped just 11 total games en route to sweeping the doubles for the third consecutive match and then earned straight-set victories at Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 6 in singles to clinch the victory. The Irish then added match-tiebreaker triumphs at Nos. 1 and 5.
Off the court first in doubles was the pair of sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.), who defeated John Allare and Joe McWilliams 8-3 at No. 3. That duo is now 3-0 together, while Notre Dame is 9-1 on the spring at No. 3 doubles. Roth continued to be perfect in dual-match action, improving to 6-0 in doubles since being inserted into the lineup for the first time in his career on Feb. 5. He boasts the team’s top overall mark in partnered play this year (10-1), while Helgeson stands 10-4.
Clinching the point were senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.), who won 8-3 at No. 2 against Michael Flowers and Alex Forger. That Irish pair is 3-0 together this season, as well as 16-7 in their careers. Langenkamp – who has won six straight – leads Notre Dame in doubles victories with an 11-4 mark, including 8-2 in dual action.
Juniors Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College) and Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) finished off the sweep with an 8-5 win over Adam Monich and Nick Rinks at No. 1. The Spartan duo had been 14-4 on the season, including 6-1 in dual play, and knocked off Keckley and Langenkamp – currently ranked 12th in the nation – in the opening round of last fall’s ITA Midwest Championships. Keckley and King are 5-3 this season, all at No. 1, as well as 11-4 in their careers together.
Done first in singles was King, who did not lose a game in beating the freshman Forger 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4. It was the second consecutive dual match in which an Irish player cooked up a “double bagel,” after sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) did so on Sunday against Bradley. Prior to this week, no Notre Dame player had won 6-0, 6-0 since Nicolas Lopez-Acevedo did so in the 2003 BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals. After losing in three of his previous four matches, King now has dropped one total game in his last two contests.
Next done was Helgeson, who beat the rookie Allare 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3. He has won four in a row and stands 14-4 on the season, including 7-3 in dual play.
Parbhu, ranked 14th, earned his team-leading third clinching victory of the spring (the fifth of his career) by downing Monich 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2. The Irish sophomore registered his 50th career singles victory, as opposed to only 11 defeats (.820), and moved to 18-4 this season (7-2 dual). He is 13-1 against opponents from the Midwest Region.
Langenkamp, ranked 65th, was done next, beating freshman Scott Rasmussen 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6. The Notre Dame senior evened his singles record at 7-7.
Keckley, a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, came back from losing the opening set to beat Flowers 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-4) at No. 5. The junior leads Notre Dame with a 9-1 singles record in dual action, and he is 11-2 overall this season. Keckley actually holds a 3-2 record in 2005-06 when dropping the first set.
Bass, the eighth-ranked singles player in college tennis, completed the sweep with a hard-fought win over 78th-ranked Nick Rinks at No. 1, prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7). It was a rematch of the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Championships, when the Irish junior won 6-2, 6-2 en route to claiming the tournament title. Rinks had been 6-0 this spring at No. 1 and now stands 19-4 overall in singles, with half of his defeats coming against Bass. The ND player – who leads the team in singles victories – improved to 19-5 on the season and 14-1 against regional foes.
Notre Dame beat Michigan State for the 17th consecutive time, dating back to a 5-4 Spartans’ triumph in 1988 in East Lansing, and leads the all-time series 43-32. The Irish have won 10 straight at home (dating back to ’85), and head coach Bob Bayliss now holds a 21-1 career record against MSU, against which he has more victories than vs. any other school.
The Irish will return to action on Saturday, traveling to #42 Michigan for a 6 p.m. (EST) match. ND already has wins against Big Ten foes Northwestern (6-1), Purdue (6-1), Wisconsin (6-1), and MSU, while losing only to Illinois.
#31 Notre Dame 7, #75 Michigan State 0SinglesNo. 1: #8 Stephen Bass (ND) def. #78 Nick Rinks (MSU) 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)No. 2: * #14 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Adam Monich (MSU) 6-3, 6-1No. 3: Brett Helgeson (ND) def. John Allare (MSU) 6-2, 6-3No. 4: Barry King (ND) def. Alex Forger (MSU) 6-0, 6-0No. 5: Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Michael Flowers (MSU) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-4)No. 6: #65 Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Scott Rasmussen (MSU) 6-3, 6-1Order of Finish: 4, 3, 2*, 6, 5, 1DoublesNo. 1: Keckley/King (ND) def. Monich/Rinks (MSU) 8-5No. 2: * Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) def. Flowers/Forger (MSU) 8-3No. 3: Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) def. Allare/Joe McWilliams (MSU) 8-3Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1