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MEN’S TENNIS: Team picks up two much-needed wins

Kate Gales | Monday, February 14, 2005

After a brief setback last weekend, the Irish got back on track with a pair of 7-0 victories against Marquette and the University of Indianapolis this weekend.Marquette, who will join the Big East Conference next year, put up a solid fight in doubles but fell to an Irish squad eager to improve to 7-2.The No. 29 Irish then toppled Division-II University of Indianapolis with ease to improve to 8-2 as the team prepares to face No. 39 Northwestern Friday.”These were matches that I felt we were the favorite in,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We needed to play up to our capabilities and I think we did that.”The doubleheader allowed Bayliss to manipulate the lineup and the players’ positions.”The second match was one in which we were able to get some of the guys into the lineup who hadn’t had much chance to play, and that’s always rewarding,” he said.Against Marquette, the Irish swept the doubles point, although the team’s No. 2 pair of Eric Langenkamp and Sheeva Parbhu played through a tiebreaker to win 9-8 (7-2). Jimmy and Stephen Bass were first off the courts with an 8-5 victory at the third spot, and the team’s top duo of Brent D’Amico and Ryan Keckley posted another 8-5 victory for three Irish wins.”I felt that Marquette was a very well-coached in doubles,” Bayliss said. In singles, Stephen Bass – currently ranked at No. 78 nationally – won 6-0, 6-2 for the second Notre Dame point of the match. No. 112-nationally ranked Barry King followed him at the third position with a 6-1, 6-1 win, and Keckley clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-4 win.Langenkamp also put up a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 6; Patrick Buchanan battled to 6-3, 6-4 point at No. 4; and D’Amico finished the match with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win at No. 1.”We feel like we have eight starters in singles,” Bayliss said. “I think Eric and Ryan Keckley are quite good and in fact started most of last year, and we need to get them in some matches.”Against Indianapolis, the Irish performed even better, not losing a single set to the Greyhounds. In doubles, D’Amico and Keckley raced off the courts with an 8-1 win, and Brandon Pierpont and Yuichi Uda posted an 8-1 win at No. 3 to clinch the point for the Irish. Captain Nick Chimerakis and Peter Graham, playing at No. 2, recorded an 8-2 victory to seal the deal for the Irish.In singles, King was first off the courts with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 2. He was followed by Keckley at No. 5, who won 6-0, 6-1. The match was clinched by Irackli Akhvlediani, who won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4. Debuting at No. 3 for the first time in his career, Parbhu won 6-1, 6-1, and Langenkamp won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6. Bass returned to the No. 1 spot, winning 6-2, 6-3. Although the wins are good for the Irish record, Bayliss is careful to keep the victories in perspective.”When there’s no cause to just jump up and down, I don’t think we should be doing it,” he said. “From here on in, it’s tough sledding.”