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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Men's Tennis: Irish snag seventh straight

The Irish improved to 7-1 against the Big Ten Conference with a 6-1 victory over Indiana Tuesday afternoon.

With the win, No. 19 Notre Dame improved to 9-4 overall and won its seventh straight match.

"I thought overall, when you go on the road and play a respected Big Ten opponent on their home indoor courts and you come away with a win, you should be happy," Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. "But there's still things we need to do better and need to work on."

After spending time in La Jolla, Calif., at the Pacific Coast Doubles Tournament, the Irish won two of the three doubles matches to take the point.

First off the courts were Peter Antons and David Bubenicek of Indiana, who defeated Barry King and Eric Langenkamp 8-5 at No. 2 doubles. The Irish rebounded quickly, however, as Ryan Keckley and Sheeva Parbhu won at No. 1.

"We looked great at one," Bayliss said. "We obviously made a change there - Sheeva's returns added a lot of strength there, and he competes so well they're going to be good if they play together."

Brett Helgeson and Andrew Roth clinched the point with an 8-5 victory at No. 3.

"At third, I felt we played pretty well," Bayliss said. "Andrew was all over the net and did a great job of cutting balls off, and Brett served the match out at 7-5 and played a solid service game."

In singles, No. 17 Stephen Bass was first off the courts with a 6-4, 6-4 straight set win at No. 1.

"I thought Stephen Bass did a fabulous job of handling a difficult opponent and really doing the specific things he needed to do under pressure time and time again," Bayliss said.

Langenkamp also recorded a straight set victory, winning 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 to put the Irish up 3-0.

"At six, Eric just was way too tough for Antons," Bayliss said. "He got up early in both sets, never let up and didn't lose his serve once. It was a very convincing 2-2 win."

Parbhu clinched the match with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory at No. 2.

"When you play Sheeva and you expect to win, you better bring your lunch because you're going to be there for a while if he's not playing well," Bayliss said. "If he's playing well you wont need it because the match will be over quickly."

No. 60 Helgeson fell to Dara McLoughlin at No. 3 as the Hoosiers avoided the upset.

"Brett is normally used to dictating, and now he knows what its like to be on the receiving end of some of the shots that he hits," Bayliss said. "He's going to live to play another day. He's going to be better when we get outside."

At No. 5, King defeated Michael McCarthy 7-6 (11-9), 7-5, and Keckley won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to close out the match at No. 4.

"At four, Ryan got down a fairly early break in the second set and didn't ever catch up, but took control of the third and won pretty comfortably," Bayliss said. "He's had an unbelievable year for us, he's 12-1 - the best record on the team."

The Irish return to action on March 14 in a road match at Florida State.