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Irish look to regain form in Dallas

James Wade | Thursday, April 5, 2007

No. 5 Notre Dame will try to reclaim the consistency that brought it an 11-match winning streak earlier this season against Southern Methodist University (SMU) Saturday in Dallas.The Irish, 18-3 overall, have been inconsistent lately, getting shut out by No. 2 Ohio State March 31 and then turning around and beating No. 8 Illinois 5-2 two days later.”After the win against Illinois, especially after the Ohio State loss, hopefully it will help us focus and end the season as strong as possible,” Irish junior Sheeva Parbhu said.While the Mustangs (12-8, 0-1 Conference USA) are not ranked, they are riding a five-game winning streak and are coming off a 5-2 victory against No. 45 Wisconsin. Notre Dame and SMU have traded blows over the past few seasons, with the Irish claiming a 5-2 victory last year and the Mustangs winning two years ago in Dallas by the same score.”When you go on the road, you cannot take anything for granted,” Parbhu said. “We only have a few matches left, so we have to make them all count.”Parbhu has his own reasons to be focused for the SMU match – his overall record of 90-25 (55-12 in dual matches) puts him one win away from tying Luis Haddock for No. 10 all time on the Irish wins list. Similarly, No. 9 Stephen Bass has his own record to break on Saturday. His 101 career wins have him one victory away from fifth on the Irish wins list. Recent weather in South Bend, however, might be a problem as the Irish travel to a hot Texas for outdoor play. But Parbhu was not concerned about the climate change, since the Irish are leaving today for Dallas and will have plenty of time to get acclimated to the heat. Also, a little heat could go a long way for the Irish, he said, as it should prepare them for their upcoming matches in places such as Tampa, Fla., for the Big East tournament, and Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Tournament. With only a handful of matches before these two big tournaments, the Irish will look to come out sharp against SMU. The first serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central Time.