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Men’s Tennis: Team takes three from top opponents at Eck

Kate Gales | Monday, February 13, 2006

The Irish snapped a three-game losing streak this weekend, winning all three of their matches at the Eck Tennis Pavilion to improve to 4-4 on the season.

Notre Dame topped Purdue 6-1, Wisconsin 6-1 and Bradley 7-0 to rebound from a difficult road trip early in the season.

“A ‘W’ is always better than an ‘L,'” head coach Bobby Bayliss said. “I think some of the guys needed to win some matches and I think that was good.”

Notre Dame 6, Purdue 1

The Irish came out strong against the Boilermakers with a win in the doubles competition, and they never looked back.

In the first doubles match, Eric Langenkamp and Andrew Roth won 8-5 at No. 3, but Ryan Keckley and Barry King fell 8-5 at No. 1 to leave the point in the hands of Brett Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu.

Parbhu and Helgeson won 8-3 at No. 2 to put the Irish up 1-0 going into the singles matches.

“I thought Purdue came in and really played hard against us,” Bayliss said. “We surprisingly won the doubles point quickly – they usually play great doubles, and we got the false impression we might be in for an easy day.”

In singles, Keckley won 6-1, 6-4 to offset a loss by captain Patrick Buchanan by a score of 6-4, 6-2.

Stephen Bass won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1 to put the Irish within one point of victory, and Parbhu clinched the win for the Irish at No. 2 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

King won at No. 3 despite dropping the second set with a score of 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

“I was proud of the fact that Barry made an adjustment in that match and was able to flatten out his ball and be more aggressive,” Bayliss said. “His ball had too much spin on it in the middle set, and [his opponent, Patrick] Rose was able to run around and get as many forehands as he wanted and dictates. Then Barry ended up dictating play at the end.”

Notre Dame 6, Wisconsin 1

The Irish swept the doubles point against Wisconsin, with Helgeson and Roth first off the courts with an 8-2 win at third doubles.

Keckley and King clinched the point with an 8-3 win at No. 1 and Langenkamp and Parbhu won 8-4.

In singles, Keckley was first off the courts again at No. 5, winning 6-2, 7-5 to fend off a comeback by Wisconsin’s Felipe Bellido. Langenkamp won a difficult first set at No. 6, going 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 to put the Irish one match away from clinching.

Helgeson, playing at No. 3, sealed the victory for the Irish with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win.

Bass won a three-set match over Wisconsin’s Nolan Polley 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2, but Barry King fell 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 at No. 4 to give the Badgers their only point of the match.

Parbhu closed out the match with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 victory in the top position.

“Stephen showed a lot of poise coming back,” Bayliss said. “Sheeva did the same thing here – he was a little off his game in the first set and only lost four games the rest of the way.”

Notre Dame 7, Bradley 0

It was more of the same for the Irish as they finished the weekend with a dominating shutout of Bradley on Sunday night.

“I think in beating Bradley … everybody else stepped up to play,” Bayliss said. “We got a lot of people in and that was good.”

The Irish again won the doubles point, sweeping all three matches. Buchanan and Roth finished first at No. 3, winning 8-1. Keckley and Santiago Montoya clinched the point at No. 2 with an 8-2 win, and Langenkamp and Parbhu followed at No. 1 with another 8-2 victory.

King quickly won 6-1, 6-0 to put the Irish up 2-0. Coming off an injury, Irackli Akhvlediani won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6, and Bass clinched the match for the Irish with a 6-3, 6-3 victory at No. 1.

“We know we have good depth and it was time to prove that this weekend and the guys did it,” Bayliss said. “I think Michigan State will provide another opportunity and see what we can do Wednesday before we go to Ann Arbor.”

The Irish next take the courts against Michigan State Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.