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Men’s Tennis: Irish coach sends captain to Tulsa

KATELYN GRABAREK | Thursday, October 4, 2007

Irish senior captain Sheeva Parbhu left for Tulsa, Okla., Tuesday night for the Intercollegiate Tennis Championships, where Parbhu will be the only Notre Dame representative in the tournament.

“I am looking to continue to play at a high level,” Parbhu said. “I want to keep the good season going, and get more experience against some of the best players in the country.”

While Parbhu is in Tulsa, the rest of the Irish will continue to work on their games after the singles lineup went 26-14 in the Tom Fallon Invitational.

“We have a lot of talented players,” Irish head coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Brett [Helgeson] and Parbhu are co-number ones and I can’t peg either one as the better of the two. They have very different games and complement each other well.”

Helgeson goes after opponents with a strong ground game and lots of firepower from both sides of his body. He also has a big serve but tends to shy away from playing at the net.

Parbhu, on the other hand, often comes to the net because he is not as big as Helgeson. Parbhu also doesn’t have the same power on his ground strokes as Helgeson.

Due to NCAA restrictions on how many matches an athlete can play in, Parbhu did not participate in last weekend’s Tom Fallon, the team’s home-opening tournament.

“The athletes are only allowed to play in 25 matches, and he would have had to miss some duel matches because of this rule and that he is going to Oklahoma this weekend,” Bayliss said. “It gave us a chance to see some of the younger players. We also got to see Helgeson play and he came up big.”

Because of an injury, Andrew Roth also did not play in last weekend’s tournament.

“Roth sprained his ankle in Chicago and has not played since,” Bayliss said. “He did practice for an hour with the team on Monday. We’re hoping to get him ready for regionals. The main goal is to have him at 100 percent when he does come back.”

Bayliss said he was pleased with the way his team’s newest players performed in front of the home crowd.

“The freshmen are very talented and they handled themselves very well,” Bayliss said. “The tournament was a good way for them to break in with the round robin format – it didn’t put as much pressure on them. There were a few times when the inexperience showed, but overall they played very well.”

Despite the singles lineup’s strong showing, Bayliss said the doubles group has yet to mesh.

“We need to work on court positioning, and strategy,” Bayliss said. “There isn’t enough poaching. [Assistant coach Ryan] Sacchire can help them with this. He was a very talented player in his time here, and went on to play in tournaments just outside the pro circuit. The guys can relate well to him, and he has a lot to teach them.”

The Irish will be back in action at the ITA Midwest Championships, which begin Oct. 18 in Minneapolis, Minn.