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Men’s Tennis: Irish finish perfect home season with win at Eck

Jay Wade | Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Irish cemented a perfect home record of 9-0 on the season with a 7-0 win over Kentucky Wednesday.

The win over the Wildcats was the second straight match in which the Irish have shut out a team, and the eighth time overall this season.

The 9-0 home record marks the first time Notre Dame has had back-to-back perfect home records in school history, and it is only the fourth time in history that an Irish team has finished undefeated at home. Notre Dame was 8-0 a season ago.

The Irish are 13-0 this season when winning the doubles point. Notre Dame continued that streak against Kentucky as third doubles Barry King and Andrew Roth defeated Will Ward and Shane Collins 8-6. The duo of Ryan Keckley and Stephen Bass clinched the doubles point for the Irish with an 8-5 win over Bruno Agostinelli and Kenny Hodge at the No. 1 position. Sheeva Parbhu and Brett Helgeson, who did not get to finish their match at No. 2 doubles, were paired together by Irish coach Bobby Bayliss for the second time this season in as many matches.

Bayliss said the decision to switch up the doubles combinations was due to the struggle Parbhu and Keckley were having at No. 1 doubles.

“We were struggling at one doubles and we had plateaued out at two with the combinations we had,” Bayliss said. “We felt that it was important enough to the overall picture to make the change and we couldn’t do it at one [doubles] without involving the other combinations so we did what we did.”

The singles players faired the same as the doubles, as Notre Dame defeated Kentucky with relative ease. Roth and King were the first off the court for the Irish winning 6-0, 6-2, and 6-4, 6-3, respectively. Keckley clinched the win for the Irish during his 6-3, 6-1 victory over Hodge at the No. 5 spot. With the win secured, No. 51 Parbhu was next off the court as he was up 6-4. 3-1 over Peter Bjork before the match was retired. No. 114 Brett Helgeson defeated Marcus Sundh 7-6 (2), 6-2. No. 9 Bass finished singles play for the Irish with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Agostinelli.

“I thought it was a great effort from our guys because we were on the road yesterday and we did not have a lot of turn around time,” Bayliss said. “Also, I think it speaks well for the pride that we have in what we’re doing that we were able to win in straight sets after we knew we would win, especially since Kentucky is such a dangerous team. Straight up and down I’m happy with everybody.”

The Irish will finish off the regular season this Saturday at No. 57 Louisville, looking to avenge their loss to the Cardinals in last year’s Big East Championship match. First serve is scheduled for 3:30 p.m