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Men’s Tennis: Team travels to No. 13 FSU

Kate Grabarek | Friday, April 25, 2008

After capturing their second straight Big East title in Tallahassee, Fla., last week, the Irish will return to the Sunshine State looking for similar success against No. 13 Florida State.

“The win was great,” head coach Bobby Bayliss. “We have won the title for the fourth time in the last five years.”

For the second straight year, Bayliss obtained the Big East Coach of the Year title. Junior Brett Helgeson earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Helgeson is the second straight Irish player to win the MVP award – 2007 graduate Stephen Bass earned MVP honors last year.

Senior captain Sheeva Parbhu and freshman Dan Stahl made the all-tournament singles team along with Helgeson. Parbhu and Helgeson, and senior Andrew Roth, and junior Santiago Montoya made the all-tournament doubles team also.

“Stahl had a great tournament,” Bayliss said. “He has really made a lot of improvements overall in his game. I was impressed by the way he served for the match against University of Southern Florida [in the championship match].”

The Irish will have an uphill battle against the Seminoles this weekend.

“Florida State has been in the top 10 this season,” Bayliss said. “We know that we have a chance to be in the match, but we will have to play a great match up and down the lineup.”

Florida State features three ranked singles players in their singles lineup, the leader being No. 15 Jean-Yves Aubone. Aubone has twelve wins over ranked opponents this season.

“They had a rough match against Miami,” Bayliss said. “That hurt their ranking and they fell in the rankings this week.”

This weekend will mark the seventh time the teams have met. The Irish have won the last four meetings between the two teams.

With Parbhu’s combined five wins this past weekend, he is one win away from 200 wins for his career. His next win will make Parbhu only the fourth player in Notre Dame history to reach that milestone. The list includes current assistant coach Ryan Sachire, David DiLucia and Andy Zurcher. Parbhu is fifth in singles wins with 121, and tied for fourth with 78 doubles wins for his career.

“Parbhu is a great student,” Bayliss said. “He will probably go pro after this season, and then pursue his medical degree in the future. He has a high GPA as well.”

Bayliss noted the amount of 4-3 wins the Irish earned early in the season, and how Notre Dame’s luck has changed in recent weeks.

“We earned a lot of 4-3 wins early in the season and rose to No. 9 in the rankings,” Bayliss said. “We have lost a lot of the close matches lately, but we have picked up a little bit since.”

The Irish will play the Seminoles on Saturday with matches beginning at 1 p.m.