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Men’s Tennis: Irish lose to Virginia, top William and Mary

Kate Gales | Monday, January 30, 2006

It was an up-and-down weekend for the Irish, who dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 match to No. 1 Virginia on Friday but rebounded for a 7-0 win over William and Mary Sunday.

“We were right there to beat Virginia,” senior Eric Langenkamp said. “We were up 3-2 with our two most clutch players [Stephen Bass and Sheeva Parbhu] still on the courts … we just came up a little short.”

The Irish have a big weekend coming up, with matches against North Carolina and Duke preceding a Tuesday match against Illinois.

“I don’t want to put too much importance on any one match,” coach Bobby Bayliss said. “The season is a marathon, not a sprint … but we need to be at our best.”

Virginia 4, Notre Dame 3

The Irish and Cavaliers went down to the wire in a hotly-contested match at the Country Club of Virginia. The Irish struggled with a new lineup in doubles, as Ryan Keckley and Barry King fell No. 35 Somdev Devvarman and Trent Huey in the No. 1 doubles match. Although Bass and Langenkamp had won 8-3 at No. 3 doubles, Brett Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu lost the No. 2 match 8-5 to give the doubles point to the Cavaliers.

“Our level was as high as I’ve seen it from this team in a number of years,” Bayliss said.

In singles, Keckley won 6-2, 6-4 at No. 5, but captain Patrick Buchanan fell 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6. The Irish reeled off two more victories to go up 3-2 with the top two singles matches on the court. At No. 4, Brett Helgeson topped Huey, who holds the No. 6 national ranking in singles play, with a 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 score.

“Brett Helgeson looked as strong as we’ve seen any of our players play,” Bayliss said.

At third singles, King won 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 over Rylan Rizza.

“Rizza is a tough out,” associate head coach Todd Doebler said. “[The match] showed how well Barry’s improved.”

However, the Irish couldn’t maintain the lead, as Parbhu fell 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the third set to tie the match at 3-3. Devvarman’s win over Bass was the decisive point for Virginia.

“[Notre Dame] didn’t lose – Virginia took it from them,” Bayliss said. “We didn’t have enough weapons to hurt them at the end.”

Notre Dame 7

William and Mary 0

The Irish rebounded against a difficult Tribe team to post a dominant 7-0 victory to close out the weekend.

“I’m pleased with the results today,” Bayliss said.

The Irish swept the doubles point, starting with an 8-3 win from Bass and Langenkamp at third doubles. Keckley and King clinched the point with an 8-1 win at No. 1, and Helgeson and Parbhu completed the sweep at No. 2 with an 8-6 victory.

The Tribe was known to have strong doubles, and the dominant showing there was a coup for the Irish.

In singles, Keckley was first off the courts with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 5. Parbhu followed with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 2. King clinched the match at third singles with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

“I think Stephen Bass showed a lot of poise after losing his second set,” Bayliss said. “Ryan was all over [his opponent Dominic] Pagon – he beat the ball to the net, it looked like sometimes.”

Helgeson posted another win at No. 4 with a 7-5, 6-2 win, and Bass won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at No. 1.

“Brett had such a big win the other night … [but] he pulled himself together pretty well,” Bayliss said.

Langenkamp had a difficult match at No. 6 but pulled out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at the hard-fought position.

The Irish take the courts next on Saturday at 1 p.m. at North Carolina.