Men’s Tennis: Irish beat Louisville for top seed in tournament
Kate Gales | Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Notre Dame proved itself to be the beast of the East with a decisive 5-2 win over Louisville Thursday, earning the top seed in this weekend’s conference tournament.
The Irish improved to 15-7 (1-0) and finished a perfect 8-0 at home.
After dropping seven doubles points in its last nine matches, Notre Dame took the point in tight competition.
“I think it’s good for our confidence,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We actually have worked very hard on [our doubles] – we’ve changed combinations again several times but we’re back to where we started at the beginning of the year.”
Barry King and Sheeva Parbhu topped Jhonny Berrido and Damar Johnson 8-5 at No. 2 to put the Irish one match away from clinching the point. Berrido and Johnson are No. 60 nationally.
Ryan Keckley and Eric Langenkamp, No. 32 nationally, defeated the No. 28 pairing of Jeremy Clark and Jakob Gustafson at No. 1 to clinch the point for the Irish.
Keckley and Langenkamp moved up to No. 25 in the most recent rankings.
“It gives us a reasonably good chance to get in the NCAAs,” Bayliss said.
Stephen Bass and Santiago Montoya fell 9-8 (7-5) at the No. 3 spot as the Cardinals avoided the sweep.
In singles, the Irish took three of the first four matches as No. 16 Bass clinched the win by defeating No. 71 Slavko Radman 6-1, 6-3 in the top spot.
First off the courts was King, who beat Berrido in straight sets of 6-1 apiece.
“Barry just hit the ball too big off the ground for Berrido,” Bayliss said. “He’s very steady but couldn’t match Barry’s talent. Barry got to the net, finished points … it was one of his better matches.”
The Cardinals tightened the score to 2-1 with Clark’s win over Keckley in a 6-2, 6-2 match at No. 5. Keckley had spent the week battling tonsillitis.
“Ryan didn’t have much left for singles and didn’t put up a lot of resistance and didn’t play a good match,” Bayliss said. “I think it’ll be a different story [next time].”
But Langenkamp won 6-0, 6-4 to put Notre Dame within one in his final regular season match at home.
“Eric won 10 of the first 11 games and was up 6-0, 4-1,” Bayliss said. “… As the match looked like it was about to end, Eric’s balls started to end a little bit shorter … he had a little more difficulty winning aggressive points and he went from up 4-1 to all of a sudden 4-3.”
After Bass clinched the mass, Helgeson lost 7-5, 6-3 at No. 3, but No. 31 Sheeva Parbhu rounded out the match with a 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-3) win at No. 2.
The Irish take the courts again Friday for a match against Georgetown in the first round of the Big East tournament held at the University of South Florida in Tampa.