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ND Men’s Tennis: Men’s squad avenges loss to Louisville to capture this year’s title

Deirdre Krasula | Monday, April 23, 2007

Notre Dame may have lost last year’s Big East championship to Louisville, but that was a mere memory Sunday when the No. 4 Irish cruised past the Cardinals 4-0 to capture the 2007 Big East title.

Senior Stephen Bass proved why he holds not only the captain’s position but also the No. 1 singles and doubles spots. Bass aided Notre Dame in its win by capturing the deciding singles point and the deciding doubles point with senior partner Ryan Keckley.

The No. 3 duo of senior Barry King and junior Andrew Roth opened up doubles play for the Irish with and 8-1 rout of Chris Herrlinger and James McArthur. Louisville battled back at the No. 2 spot when David Simon and Robert Rotaru defeated the Irish duo of junior Sheeva Parbhu and sophomore Brett Helgeson 8-2.

With doubles tied at one apiece, Bass and Keckley battled at the top spot against No. 22 Damar Johnson and Slavko Radman. The match was back and forth for over an hour until Bass and Keckley broke serve to take the win 9-7. It marked the second time this season that the Irish duo has knocked off the No. 22 Cardinals duo.

With the doubles point in hand, Brett Helgeson quickly polished off Kenneth Nordheim at No. 3 singles. Helgeson defeated Nordheim in straight set victories 6-1, 6-0.

With the 2-0 lead, Notre Dame coach Bobby Bayliss noted that Louisville began to feel the need to step it up.

“Brett really set the tone when he got off the court so quickly,” he said. “He put a lot of pressure on the Louisville guys.”

Following the tone set by Helgeson, King was off the courts next for the Irish. King made quick work of Robert Rotaru as he defeated him 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 4 spot to bring Notre Dame within one point of the win. King dominated play with his aggressive on all ends.

“He dictated off the ground, got to the net, and asserted his authority in good solid all court play,” Bayliss said.

Bass once again stepped up for the Irish at No. 1 singles as he clinched the win for Notre Dame with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Slavko Radman. It was the second time in the past month that No. 9 Bass has defeated No. 68 Slavko Radman.

Bass has been a guiding force on the Irish squad this year.

“It’s exactly what you want to see as a coach,” Bayliss said of Bass. “To assume that amount of responsibility and take the ball.”

Notre Dame defeated Villanova and St. John’s by scores of 4-0 and 4-0 en route to the championship against Louisville. The 4-0 win over the Cardinals guaranteed the Irish an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship.