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Toledo, Illinois State fall victim to Irish men

Kate Gales | Monday, January 17, 2005

There wasn’t much suspense this weekend at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The No. 34 Irish dominated season-opening play, registering a 7-0 victory over Toledo Saturday morning and adding a 6-1 win over Illinois State on Saturday afternoon.

“Overall this is a strong showing,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “I’m real excited about our team – I don’t know how good we are yet.”

The Irish did not lose a set to Toledo, as No. 6 Eric Langenkamp put up the season’s first point with a 6-2, 6-0 victory of Josh Moran. At No. 4, Irackli Akhvlediani followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Chris Clark and No. 5 Patrick Buchanan defeated Travis Curran 6-3, 6-1

No. 113-ranked Barry King clinched the match at No. 2 for the Irish with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Tony Tran with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) score. At No. 3, Ryan Keckley notched a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Freddy Gomez.

Making his debut at the top spot for the Irish, No. 77-ranked Stephen Bass defeated Khalid Al Nabhani to finish singles competition.

In doubles, Langenkamp and Peter Graham – fresh off a shoulder injury – took the first match for the Irish 8-4, and Jimmy Bass and co-captain Nick Chimerakis clinched the point for the Irish with an 8-6 victory.

Co-captain Brent D’Amico and Keckley concluded play against Toledo with an 8-6 victory at the top doubles spot.

“I think everyone’s doing a great job,” D’Amico said. “It’s definitely positive to have a lot of young guys contributing.”

Irish momentum carried through the first match into the afternoon, where the team defeated Illinois State 6-1.

“I think we kind of passed a test,” Bayliss said. “We’ve still got work to do.”

Bayliss modified some of the singles positions in the day’s second matches as well as rearranging the doubles lineup.

Bass was first off the courts in singles play with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Guillermo Gomez at the No. 1 spot. D’Amico followed at No. 3 and King at No. 2, both with scores of 6-3, 6-3.

Sheeva Parhbu clinched the match in his first time on the courts playing collegiate tennis. In the No. 4 spot, he topped Oscar Beich 6-1, 6-3. Akhvlediani added another point at No. 5 with a 7-5, 6-2 defeat of Alban Renard.

In a hard-fought battle at No. 6, Ryan Keckley fell to Alfredo Lagarda in the Redbirds’ come-from-behind victory with a score of 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (11-9).

Keckley came back for the doubles comeption, however, as he and D’Amico soundly won 8-1 in the top spot. No. 2. Langenkamp and Parbhu won 8-5 and Bass and King stayed perfect with an 8-4 win at No. 3.

Despite the lopsided victories, Bayliss wants his team to stay focused on tougher competition ahead.

“We’ve got to continue to improve as the season goes on,” Bayliss said. “I just hope we can get a win or two early that helps really propel us and helps us believe with ourselves.”

This weekend provided a solid foundation for that sort of confidence.