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Men’s Tennis: Notre Dame tops SMU, extends win streak to 5

Mike Gotimer | Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In a tightly contested match, No. 9 Notre Dame defeated No. 46 Southern Methodist 4-3 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Sunday. The team extended its winning streak to five matches and improved to 7-1 overall in dual matches this season.

Coming into the match, Irish head coach Bobby Bayliss expected it to be close.

“They lost to Texas 5-2 earlier in the season, and Texas is No. 5 or No. 6 in the nation,” coach Bayliss said. “We haven’t seen them in two years.”

Notre Dame started out fast by winning the doubles point for the second consecutive day. Irish senior Andrew Roth and freshman Steven Havens won Notre Dame’s first doubles match 8-5. Shortly thereafter, the second Irish pair of senior Sheeva Parbhu and junior Brett Helgeson withstood an SMU rally to win their match 8-4.

After Parbhu and Helgeson took a commanding 5-0 lead, SMU senior Alex Skrypko and sophomore Robin Fahgen fought back to make it a 6-4 match, but Parbhu and Helgeson won the last two games to seal the win.

Notre Dame’s final doubles pair of freshman Tyler Davis and junior Santiago Montoya found themselves in a tight 5-4 contest, but pulled away late for an 8-5 win.

The Irish started out slowly in singles play, but they rallied with help from gutsy performances by Parbhu and freshmen Dan Stahl and Havens.

“It is early and we certainly are still young,” Coach Bayliss said. “The freshmen have shown great poise under pressure.”

The Irish picked up their first singles win when Havens defeated Mustangs senior Olvind Alver in straight sets. After taking a close first set, Havens dominated Alver in the second set and shut him out 6-0.

Notre Dame lost the next two points to SMU. Singles player Brett Helgeson, ranked No. 11 in the nation, lost to SMU sophomore Robin Fahgen in straight sets. Fahgen took the first set 6-2 in convincing fashion. After leading for much of the second set, Helgeson could not withstand a late rally from Fahgen, who took the set 6-4.

SMU senior Adolfo Solares followed up his teammate’s win by defeating Notre Dame freshman David Anderson in a close match, 7-5, 7-5.

Stahl took the next point for the Irish in a gritty match against SMU sophomore Chris Hooshyar. After winning the first set 6-4, Stahl lost the second set 2-6. However, he rebounded to take the third set 6-4 to earn the win.

SMU took the next singles point as senior Alex Skrypko defeated Irish senior Andrew Roth. Roth took the first set 6-4, but Skrypko won the next two sets 7-5, 7-5.

With the team scores tied at 3-3, the match came down to Parbhu for the second straight day. Parbhu fell behind 6-5 in the first set against SMU senior David Kuczer, but he won the next set to force a tiebreak, which Parbhu won 7-5. Kuczer won the next set 6-4 to force a deciding third set. However, Parbhu dominated the set, as he jumped out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 win that clinched the match for the Irish.

Notre Dame travels to Seattle Feb 15-17 to compete in the ITA National Indoor Championships.