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Men’s Tennis: Youngsters impress at Fallon Invitational

Kate Grabarek | Tuesday, October 2, 2007

With the ITA Championships in just two weeks, Notre Dame got plenty of warm-up action during the Tom Fallon Invitational at the Courtney Tennis Center last weekend.

Players from Ball State, Purdue, Western Michigan, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, and Indiana came to South Bend to compete in individual singles and doubles matches. No team score was kept.

Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said he was impressed with the play of his five freshmen.

“The good news is that we have five freshmen, who hard workers, and willing to learn,” Bayliss said. “The bad news is we have five freshmen who are still learning, and we’re still learning about them.”

On Friday, freshman Tyler Davis defeated Paul Foley of Purdue, in a super tiebreak, 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (13-11).

Fellow freshmen Stephen Havens and Dan Stahl won more easily. Havens beat Boilermaker Griffin Nieberg, 6-4, 6-1, while Stahl beat Eric Ramos of Purdue, 6-2, 6-2.

The last two freshmen had a rougher go in their matches. David Anderson lost to Alex Birchmeier from Western Michigan, 6-2, 7-5 and Matt Johnson lost to Michael Calderon, also from Western Michigan, 6-4, 7-5.

Notre Dame’s veterans also had a good day Friday.

Sophomore Sean Corrigan took down Eren Turkmenler of Purdue, 7-5, 6-4, junior Santiago Montoya easily beat Boilermaker Jose Fuenmayor, 6-0, 6-2, sophomore Graham King defeated another Purdue player, D.J. Johnson in a super tiebreak 6-2, 1-6, 1-0 (10-7), and junior Brett Helgeson defeated Indiana’s Santiago Gruter 6-0, 6-2.

Helgeson also defeated Kazuya Komada from Western Michigan, 7-5, 6-1.

Sophomore Patrick Callaghan suffered the only defeat among Irish upperclassmen, a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Indiana’s Peter Antons.

In doubles play Friday, Helgeson and Montoya beat Jorge Rodriguez and Eduardo Pavia from Ball State 8-5. Davis and Havens teamed up for an 8-2 win over Walker Grimes and Gregory Holm of Iowa.

On the second day of play, Notre Dame won 10 of its 12 matches.

Stahl defeated John Allare of Michigan State 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1 singles. Davis faced a tough opponent in Michigan State’s John Stratton but won in a third-set super tiebreak 3-6, 6-0, 1-0 (10-8).

Johnson defeated Ty Sauerbrey, also of Michigan State, easily by a score of 6-0, 6-4.

Havens beat Pavia of Ball State 6-1, 6-4. Anderson defeated Shaun Bussert, also of Ball State, 6-1, 6-0.

Helgeson defeated Spartan Alex Forger 6-1, 6-3.

In doubles play, Helgeson and Montoya earned a win over Chris Madden and Andrew Mazlin of Michigan 9-8 (7-2).

Meanwhile, Anderson and Johnson fell to Bryan Norville and Kazuya Kamada from Western Michigan 8-4, and Montoya and Havens fell to Purdue’s Foley and Ramos 9-8 (7-5).

Notre Dame posted a 7-6 singles record in the final round on Sunday. Helgeson again led the Irish with a dominant 6-0, 6-1 victory and earned Most Valuable Player Honors for the tournament.

Stahl, Davis and Havens joined Helgeson on the All-Tournament team. Stahl was victorious in a three set marathon 7-5, 4-6, 10-6. Davis prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

The Irish will take this weekend off and travel to the ITA Championships in two weeks.

Seniors Sheeva Parbhu and Andrew Roth did not play in the tournament. Bayliss said Roth was out with an ankle injury, but he did not specify Parbhu’s injury..

“We’re waiting on the results from the orthopedist [on Roth],” Bayliss said. “They will tell us if he needs an MRI or what kind of treatment.”

When Parbhu is healthy, Bayliss said, he will be one of Notre Dame’s top players.

“Essentially I have two number ones,” Bayliss said, referring to Helgeson and Parbhu. “They played two and three singles last season, and were great for us.”