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Men’s Tennis: Irish topple Seminoles in early-season home matchup

Deirdre Krasula | Sunday, February 11, 2007

Experience on the courts led to an Irish sweep of three home matches this weekend.

No. 11 Notre Dame started off its winning streak with a 5-2 defeat over No. 13 Florida State Friday.

“It is a significant win for us because I’m pretty confident Florida State is going to be a top-10 team this year,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said.

The Irish went 2-1 in doubles play to give them the opening point.

Sheeva Parbhu and senior Ryan Keckley took a decisive 8-1 win over Florida State’s Ytai Abougzir and Jean-Yves Aubone at first doubles to give Notre Dame early momentum. Senior Barry King and sophomore Brett Helgeson secured the doubles point with an 8-6 win over Jonathas Sucupira and Bradley Mixson.

“Doubles was a weakness last year and it’s turning into a strength,” Bayliss said.

No. 14 Stephen Bass opened up singles play with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Abougzir – avenging his 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat last year to the Florida State junior.

“I think [Bass] got a measure of revenge,” Bayliss said.

The Seminoles grabbed their first point of the day when Aubone triumphed in singles over No. 30 Parbhu 7-5, 7-5. Seniors Keckley and King helped the team get back on track with wins at third and fifth singles, respectively. Keckley started the match off slow but quickly rallied to take the match 6-4, 6-2 from No. 76 Maciek Sykut, improving to 12-2 for the season. King captured the final match of the night at No. 5 singles with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Mixson. Helgeson captured a win at No. 4 singles earlier in the night over Sucupira, taking the first set 6-3 and jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the second to finally take it 6-3.

Notre Dame continued its winning streak Sunday afternoon, upsetting No. 8 Duke 6-1. The Irish once again jumped to an early 1-0 lead by taking doubles play 2-1. Duke’s No. 4 David Goulet and Joey Atas defeated Keckley and Parbhu in a close 9-7 nail-biter. King and Helgeson rallied for the Irish with an 8-6 win over Peter Rodrigues and Dylan Arnould to take their second win for the weekend.

“Going into the season there was some question about [King and Helgeson’s] ability to blend together successfully and they really proved themselves,” Bayliss said.

Bass and Andrew Roth grabbed a 9-7 win over Kiril Dimitrov and Ned Samuelson to give Notre Dame the doubles point.

Singles play was a battle of ranked competitors. No. 14 Bass took the win at first singles with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win over No. 80 Rodrigues. Parbhu made up for his fall Friday night with a 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 100 Atas. Keckley and Helgeson – both unranked – defeated ranked opponents. Keckley battled it out with No. 84 Arnould to finally triumph 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (8-6). Helgeson followed Keckley’s lead by knocking off No. 54 Dimitrov 6-2, 6-3.

The Blue Devils gained their only point of the match when Goulet defeated King 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) at No. 5 singles. Roth finished out the night with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over Aaron Carpenter to give Notre Dame the 6-1 upset.

The Irish concluded their weekend with a 7-0 blanking of Toledo.

While Bayliss was concerned the second match of the day might have been difficult physically for Notre Dame, the team proved it was up to the challenge.

“It’s always a little risky playing a double header after playing a team as strong as Duke,” Bayliss said. “But the guys showed a lot of courage.”