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Men’s Tennis: Irish ace Spartans in sweep

Kate Gales | Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Irish finished their four-game homestand on a high note Wednesday with a 7-0 shutout of No. 75 Michigan State.

The win improved the No. 31 Irish to 6-4, capping off four consecutive wins at home.

“It was one of our most complete matches,” Notre Dame coach Bobby Bayliss said after the match.

The team dropped only two sets en route to a rapid and dominant victory over the Spartans.

“It’s a great confidence booster before Michigan,” Irish captain Patrick Buchanan said.

The Irish got off to a strong start, winning the doubles point in under an hour. Brett Helgeson and Andrew Roth, playing at third doubles, were first off the courts with an 8-3 win over John Allare and Joe McWilliams. Eric Langenkamp and Sheeva Parbhu followed to clinch the point, defeating Michael Flowers and Alex Forger 8-3 at No. 2. The pair improved to 3-0 together this season.

Although the Irish had already secured the point, Ryan Keckley and Barry King topped Adam Monich and Nick Rinks by an 8-5 margin.

“Certainly it’s a lot better than what we have been doing and over the weekend, the doubles points were fairly decisive,” Bayliss said.

In singles, King was first off the court with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 4. The Ireland native has only dropped one game in his last two contests. Helgeson followed King with a quick 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 3 and Parbhu clinched the match for the Irish at No. 2 with a 6-3, 6-2 win.

Bayliss and associate head coach Todd Doebler have rotated Bass and Parbhu in the top spot. Both are ranked in the nation’s top 15 and have wins at both positions.

After the clinching match, Langenkamp defeated Scott Rasmussen 6-3, 6-1 to put the Irish up 5-0.

To close out the match, Bass at No. 1 and Keckley at No. 5 both won in match tiebreakers.

“I’m especially proud of Stephen and Ryan,” Bayliss said. “When the umpire ruled that they would play match tiebreakers, which is the first one to 10 points – and its certainly more of a crapshoot than playing out the third set – each could have not handled the way he should and allowed it to affect his play and probably lost. But both really handled the ruling well and played aggressively and they came out on top.”

Keckley was the only Notre Dame player to lose the first set but closed on a high note, winning 4-6, 6-2,1-0 (10-4).

Bass dropped his second set but ended up with a 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7) to finish the match with a perfect ending for the Irish.

“[The score] says we played very well this afternoon,” Bayliss said after the match. “I’ll let you know Saturday if it says anything about progress.”