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Men’s Tennis: ND’s Bass, Parbhu to play in ITA

Deirdre Krasula | Thursday, October 5, 2006

Senior captain Stephen Bass will lead Notre Dame as it begins the ITA All-American Championships in Oklahoma today. Bass hopes to get back on track this weekend after a tough beginning to his fall season.

Bass, No. 21 in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, posted a 1-2 record at the Wolverine Invitational Oct. 1. He triumphed early over Boise State’s Piotr Dilaj 6-3, 7-5, only to struggle in his following matches – falling to Michigan’s Brian Hung 6-2, 6-2 and Vanderbilt’s 28th ranked Ryan Preston 6-4, 6-3. Despite these setbacks, Bass still boasts a 74-35 career record.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said Irish coach Bobby Bayliss of Bass’ performance. “He didn’t handle crucial situations well. Hopefully that is something he corrected in practice this week.”

Nationally 20th ranked Notre Dame junior Sheeva Parbhu enters the tournament at 3-1 this season and 68-16 in his career. Parbhu won three of his four games at Notre Dame’s Thomas Fallon Invitational Sept. 24. Parbhu fell to Western Michigan’s 94th ranked Brady Crosby.

Neither Parbhu nor Bass are new to the national circuit. Bass reached the quarterfinals of the 2005 National Indoors Champion-ship before falling to Georgia’s John Isner 7-5, 7-6, (8-6). Parbhu advanced to the postseason in the spring of 2006 when he advanced to the quarters of the NCAA Singles Championship – making the longest Irish tournament run since 1959. Parbhu’s ride ended when he succumbed to Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 6-3.

“[Parbhu and Bass] have both had high wins at the national level,” Bayliss said. “They have demonstrated their ability to be among the nation’s elite.”

Bayliss hopes that the duo will once again succeed this week. Parbhu has worked on expanding the limits on his forehand, allowing him to hit deeper and harder and making him more of threat. Bayliss said Bass is no longer just focused on his defensive game – he has turned into an all-court player.

The duo heads down to Oklahoma under the guidance of assistant coach Ryan Sachire. Sachire played the professional circuit before coming to Notre Dame and was among the top 300 in the ATP. Bass and Parbhu have had the advantage of competing against Sachire during practice this week – a challenge Bayliss hopes has made them stronger.

“[Sachire is] experienced in tournament play,” Bayliss said. “I’m sure he will be able to help them.”

Bayliss added that he hoped the presence of Sachire would not only help Bass and Parbhu in practice, but would also encourage them to perform well come match time.

“It’s an honor just to be in the tournament,” Bayliss said. “But we hope to do more than just show up.”