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Men’s Tennis: Irish improve to 11-2 with win over No. 15 Washington

Deirdre Krasula | Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Notre Dame garnered victories in all first sets of singles play in its 6-1 win over Washington.

The No. 8 Irish (11-2) jumped out early with a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point. Senior Barry King and junior Brett Helgeson clinched the first doubles match when they defeated Patrick Fischer and Mike Ricks 8-5 at No. 2. The No. 3 team of senior Stephen Bass and junior Andrew Roth clinched the doubles point for the Irish with an 8-5 win over Derek Drabble and Andy Kuharszky. Bass and Roth came out strong, taking the 4-1 and 7-2 leads.

“We came out of the box quickly and jumped all over them,” Notre Dame coach Bobby Bayliss said.

The No. 1 doubles team junior Sheeva Parbhu and senior Ryan Keckley finished doubles play with an 8-4 loss to Daniel Chu and Alex Slovic. The pair, ranked No. 9 in the country, struggled to break serve and play aggressively at the net against the No. 15 Huskies (9-3).

“It was pretty anti-climatic,” Bayliss said. “It was purely an individual thing, they need to do a better job of holding serve right now, they are not volleying with a lot of authority and we’ve frequently opened up the court without any real purpose.

“We gave Washington some opportunities to hit some pretty good shots, we just need to play with more discipline.”

With the doubles point in hand, the Irish moved on with confidence to singles play.

“We felt that if we could win the doubles point they were not good enough to win four singles,” Bayliss said.

Parbhu avenged his loss in doubles play with a quick 6-1, 6-1 win over Slovic. The junior controlled the matchup from the back of the court and got to the net early to win at the No. 2 singles position.

King put Notre Dame within one point of victory with a decisive 6-3, 6-2 win over Derek Drabble at No. 5. The win over Drabble puts King at 10-2 in dual play.

“[King] has become a tower of strength in the lower half of our lineup and is capable of playing higher,” Bayliss said.

Senior powerhouse Bass, who improved his dual match record to 11-2 Monday, clinched the win for the Irish with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Slovic. Bass cruised past Slovic easily in the first set but Slovic fought back in the second. Bass struggled to break serve in the second set but was ultimately able to do so at 5-4 and take the win at No. 1 singles as well as for the team.

Notre Dame’s win over the No. 15 Huskies marked the end of planned indoor matchups for the Irish. The team will try to translate its success in the first half of the season as they head toward spring break and outdoor play.

“We will work harder on playing longer points when we get outside and being more patient,” Bayliss said. “But still [be focused on] being able to do what got us here – being aggressive.”