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Men’s Tennis: Irish clinch Big East title for second time

Mike Gotimer | Monday, April 21, 2008

Top-seeded Notre Dame won its second consecutive Big East title with three wins this weekend on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, Fla.

The Irish won their quarterfinal match against No. 8 seed Villanova on Friday by a score of 4-0. It was the second straight year that the Irish knocked the Wildcats out of the tournament. The win also marked Notre Dame’s first consecutive victories since February. The bottom two pairs in doubles play of junior Santiago Montoya and senior Andrew Roth and freshmen Stephen Havens and Tyler Davis were both victorious to clinch the doubles point for the Irish.

Notre Dame clinched the win with singles victories from Havens, senior Sheeva Parbhu, and junior Brett Helgeson. Parbhu earned a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Villanova junior Brian Maher. Helgeson contributed his own 6-1, 6-1 victory over Wildcat senior Dimitri Chimerakis. Havens also earned a straight sets 6-2, 6-0 victory over freshman David Shaheen.

With the victory, the Irish advanced to a semifinal match over fifth seeded DePaul. The Irish defeated the Blue Demons 4-1. The Irish earned their first point in the doubles point with victories from the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. The Irish then clinched the win with wins in the top-three singles positions.

The Irish earned their first singles victory as Helgeson continued his dominance with a straight sets 6-1, 6-0 victory over DePaul junior Jose Moncada. Parbhu also claimed his second straight sets victories in two days with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Blue Demon junior Austin Doerner. Roth clinched the victory for the Irish with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over DePaul sophomore Vanja Grgec.

With the win over DePaul, the Irish advanced to the final for the 13th straight season, and won a thrilling 4-3 match over South Florida.

After winning the doubles point, South Florida won three of the first four singles matches to jump out to a 3-2 lead. The Irish’s lone singles win in that stretch was another dominant straight sets victory from Helgeson, who defeated South Florida freshman Lucas Jovita 6-0, 6-1.

Trailing 3-2 with the Big East title on the line, the match came down to the singles matches of Parbhu and freshman Daniel Stahl. Parbhu defeated Bulls’ senior Mahmoud Hamed in a closely contested 6-2, 6-4.

With the match tied at three, the match came down to Stahl. Stahl won the first set in a tiebreaker over sophomore Diego Toledo 7-6 (4). He then won the second set 6-4 to clinch the title for the Irish.

The Irish will wrap up the regular season with a match at Florida State next Saturday.