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MEN’S TENNIS: Notre Dame clobbers Ball State 6-1

Kate Gales | Monday, April 11, 2005

The Irish took off early against Ball State and never looked back Saturday, forcing their way to a dominating win over their in-state rival.It was fitting that the Irish finished their home season the way they began – with a resounding victory.No. 32 Notre Dame defeated No. 62 Ball State 6-1 on Saturday, improving the team’s record to 16-6 with one match to play before heading into the postseason. “It’s been a fun four years,” senior co-captain Brent D’Amico said. “[There have been] great people on our teams – it’s been a really enjoyable four years and this was a good way to go out, with everyone showing up today and not really laying down.”The hard work was noticeable to coach Bobby Bayliss.”I’m really proud of the level of effort and focus that we kept through the match,” he said. “I’m particularly pleased with the doubles point because they had won the doubles point from Illinois … and we got clobbered by Illinois.”The Irish dropped just one set in doubles to tally the first point of the match, providing a boost to an up-and-down doubles season. “I was disappointed we suffered the two early breaks at number one doubles and got down so far, but I’m very proud of the way we stayed in the match,” Bayliss said. “That was a factor, because if they could close that out and get that first doubles match, it puts enormous pressure on both our teams.”Although the No. 1 duo of D’Amico and Eric Langenkamp would fall to No. 25 Baccarani and Thompson of Ball State 8-5, Bayliss thinks the rally from a larger deficit helped the team stay alive in doubles play.”As we fought back from 6-1 to 7-5, we extended the match and actually won third doubles before one finished. It really helped out our two doubles,” he said.Stephen Bass and Sheeva Parbhu were first off the courts at No. 3, registering an 8-4 victory. “Stephen and Sheeva are beginning to do what we thought they could do,” Bayliss said. “That’s a good win for us.”In the final doubles match on the court, King and Keckley clinched the point for the Irish with an 8-5 victory. King would later clinch the overall match for the Irish with his victory at No. 2 doubles. Singles play was decisive in favor of the Irish, as the team lost only one set in addition to a point-deciding tiebreaker at No. 5 to cost the Irish a shutout.”I’m particularly proud of the way everybody stayed on track,” Bayliss said. “We got on top pretty quick in a number of the matches and that happens a lot … today we really got on top and we kept them down. So that’s a good sign, this is one of our best matches of the year, for sure.”Freshman Sheeva Parbhu was first off the courts at No. 4 after racking up a 6-2, 6-2 victory. In his rookie season with the Irish, he is 17-3 overall, seeing most of his playing time at No. 4.D’Amico slashed his way to a 6-0, 6-2 victory at No. 3 to finish his career at Notre Dame on a high note. King clinched the match at No. 2 with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.Langenkamp won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 5 and Stephen Bass made a tough win at No. 1 look easy with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory.However, the Irish were competitive in every set.Irackli Ackhvlediani lost a valiant effort at No. 5, falling 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7) in a hard-fought battle of tiebreakers.”Everyone who won, I think, just did a great job,” D’Amico said. “They won fairly quickly and handily, everyone did a great job.”With hard work, the Irish have a shot at winning another Big East title and hopefully making a deep run in the NCAA’s. “[We’ll] just do what we do best – work hard,” D’Amico said. “I think we’ll have a little bit of a break after our last match and before Big East so we’ll probably rest a little bit and recuperate there.”The Irish take the courts on Wednesday at Ohio State for their final match of the season.