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Men’s Tennis: Irish pull out victories over Wisconsin, SMU

Kate Grabarek | Monday, February 11, 2008

In a marathon four-hour match where nearly every pairing came down to the wire, No. 9 Notre Dame eventually came out on top over No. 30 Wisconsin 4-3 Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

The Irish also came up with a 4-3 win over Southern Methodist on Sunday.

The Irish are now 6-1 – including a 3-0 record in close matches that finish with a 4-3 score.

Notre Dame started off the match by winning the doubles point for the first time since Jan. 31 against Northwestern.

“We haven’t been able to win the doubles point lately,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “We’ve been emphasizing that we should win it, and today we did.”

The Irish clinched the point with an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles by junior Santiago Montoya and freshman Tyler Davis over sophomores Marek Michalicka and Michael Muskievicz.

“Montoya has become more stable on his returns and has always been good at net,” Bayliss said. “He is playing with freshman Tyler Davis who competes like a lion.”

Senior Sheeva Parbhu and junior Brett Helgeson pulled off the other doubles win over senior Nolan Polley and sophomore Moritz Baumann 9-7.

The Irish dropped the No. 2 doubles match when senior Andrew Roth and freshman Stephen Havens lost 8-6 to senior Jeremy Sonkin and sophomore Luke Rassow-Kantor. Sonkin and Rassow-Kontor are ranked No. 26 in the nation.

In singles action, the Irish had quite a battle against the Badgers.

At No. 4 singles, freshman Stephen Havens dropped his match to Michalicka 6-2, 6-4 to knot the match at 1-1.

“Havens has great timing,” Bayliss said. “He also has great shot making ability, but he needs to play with more discipline.”

The Irish pulled into the lead again when freshman Daniel Stahl pulled out a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles against Rassow-Kantor.

The Badgers tied the match at two when Sonkin defeated Roth 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 3 singles position.

National No. 11 Helgeson faced No. 39 Baumann again at No. 1 singles. Baumann won the first set 6-3 and was up 4-2 in the second when Helgeson made his comeback. Helgeson took two of the next five games to pull out the set. The third set was back and forth until Helgeson tied the set at 3-3 and bounced back to win it 6-3.

Irish freshman David Anderson fell in a tight match to Badgers sophomore Michael Dieberger 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

With the match tied 3-3 overall, the deciding match was in the hands of Parbhu against Polley at No. 2 singles. Parbhu came from behind again to earn the hard fought win.

Parbhu got a slight lead after breaking Polley’s serve at 3-3. However Polley broke right back to tie the score at 4-4.

Both players held their serve the last four games to push the final match to a tiebreaker. Parbhu came out on top as did the Irish with the final score being 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). The win improved Parbhu’s record for the year to 16-6.

Next weekend, the Irish travel to Seattle for the National Team Indoors.