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ND Men’s Tennis: Team takes on two top-50 rivals

Deirdre Krasula | Friday, February 23, 2007

Notre Dame will look to maintain its home winning streak as it takes on two nationally ranked opponents this weekend. The No. 9 Irish will face off with No. 22 Michigan today and No. 45 Northwestern Sunday. Notre Dame (8-2) returns home after a 2-1 showing at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Irish fell early on to No. 8 Pepperdine 4-2, but rallied to post 4-0, 4-1 wins over No. 66 Pennsylvania and No. 16 Texas, respectively. The win over Texas marked the end of a 10-match losing streak against the Longhorns.Despite losing to Pepperdine, Notre Dame remained at No. 9 in the ITA team rankings.The Irish saw movement in the individual rankings, however. Senior Stephen Bass climbed from No. 14 to No. 11 in singles ranking, and junior Sheeva Parbhu moved from No. 30 to No. 27. Sophomore Brett Helgeson broke the top-100 for the first time this season, placing at No. 94.Notre Dame saw improved doubles rankings as well. Senior Ryan Keckley and Parbhu broke the top 10, moving from No. 11 to No. 9. Michigan started its season with a 6-0 run and in the process defeated No. 16 Texas 5-2. The Wolverines only loss came when they fell 2-5 to No. 4 Virginia. Michigan comes to South Bend after defeating Northwestern – Notre Dame’s opponent this Sunday – 5-2.The Irish will face challenges from the start when Keckley and Parbhu face No. 3 Brian Hung and Matko Maravic. The duo most recently defeated No. 27 Matt Christian and Willy Lock from Northwestern, bringing its record to 7-1. No. 44 Maravic also saw victory at No. 2 singles with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Northwestern’s Willy Lock. Northwestern will host No. 59 Oklahoma today before traveling to take on the Irish in South Bend Sunday. Northwestern’s defeat to Michigan marked the third consecutive loss for the Wildcats, who fell to No. 4 Mississippi and No. 44 Penn State. Notre Dame will look to take advantage of its home court schedule for the weekend, hoping to continue an undefeated streak at home.The Observer was unable to reach coach Bobby Bayliss Thursday night for comment.