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Men’s Tennis: Irish win 10th straight

Jay Wade | Monday, March 26, 2007

No. 5 Notre Dame, enjoying its highest rank since 2002, followed its victory at the Blue Gray Classic March 18 with a resounding 7-0 win Sunday against Purdue. The Irish extended their winning streak to 10 matches and moved their overall record to 16-2 while Purdue fell to 8-5, 1-2 in the Big Ten. Notre Dame’s streak is its longest since the 1989-90 team won 15 consecutive games.”I think the rankings indicated that we were a heavy favorite but that does not always play out. … I was happy with how we took care of all the things we needed to in a professional manner,” Notre Dame coach Bobby Bayliss said. The Irish had to adjust to new conditions while playing in West Lafayette. After a recent outdoor tournament, the team was forced to readjust to an indoor setting because Purdue’s new outdoor courts are not yet finished. Also, senior Irish standout No. 8 Stephen Bass – who has won nine of his last 10 matches – had to play freshman Branko Kuzmanovic, who he was not prepared to face. Bass adjusted well to his unknown opponent, defeating Kuzmanovic 6-2, 6-2. The Irish senior now has a record of 26-8, 15-2.”Bass did a good job of attacking his second serve, which was the key to winning that match,” Bayliss said. Like Bass, the rest of the Irish team also made short work of its opponents, with only junior Sheeva Parbhu dropping a set before his 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 victory. This win put Parbhu’s overall record at 23-9.”Sheeva let the second set go from him, but he came back and played a very good match,” Bayliss said.In singles play, Brett Helgeson defeated Eric Hodgman 6-1, 6-4, Barry King defeated Kurt Zaske 6-4, 6-2, Andrew Roth defeated Scott Warner 6-1, 6-2, and Ryan Keckley defeated Paul Foley 6-1, 6-2.Keckley, who clinched the victory for Notre Dame, got his 60th career win. Bayliss was particularly impressed with both King’s and Helgeson’s victories. “They both beat strong players with their physical and aggressive ground strokes,” he said. In doubles, Keckley and Parbhu defeated Kuzmanovic and Rose 8-6, King and Helgeson defeated Hodgman and Zaske 8-2, and Bass and Roth defeated Foley and Griffin Neinberg 8-5. The victory for seventh ranked Keckley and Parbhu put their record at 21-10, 7-9 in dual action.Overall, it was a dominant victory for the Irish. “Once we got a couple on the board quickly, it put a lot of pressure on the Purdue boys,” Bayliss said. The Irish play again Wednesday at Michigan State.