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    Irish Win Trio Of Three-Setters To Rally For 5-2 Victory At Michigan

    FIGHTING IRISH Senior captain Patrick Buchanan rallied to win after dropping the opening set for the seventh time in his career.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Senior captain Patrick Buchanan rallied to win after dropping the opening set for the seventh time in his career.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Feb. 18, 2006

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Senior captain Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), junior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph's H.S.), and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) posted three-set victories to lead the 31st-ranked University of Notre Dame men's tennis team (7-4) to a come-from-behind 5-2 victory at #42 Michigan (5-3) Saturday evening in the Varsity Tennis Center. The Irish - who were without one of their top players in singles, junior Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), and have now won five in a row - will return to action on Friday, playing host to #12 Ohio State at 4 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

    Notre Dame and Michigan continued a recent tradition of hard-fought contests decided eventually by the Irish coming out on top in several three-set affairs. In 2004, Notre Dame won four of five three-setters en route to a 5-2 win in Ann Arbor. A year ago, the Irish also prevailed in all but one of the five matches that went the distance to earn a 5-2 victory at home. This year, Notre Dame would take all three three-set matches after having fallen behind 2-0 and win by the same score again.

    An injury to King - who normally plays Nos. 3 or 4 and was slated for the lower spot on Saturday - caused him to pull out of the singles portion, forcing Keckley and senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) to both slide up a spot in the lineup and calling on Buchanan to move into the No. 6 spot. All three of those players responded with victories, which allowed the Irish to prevail. Saturday continued Notre Dame's excellence this season in three-set affairs, as Irish players have combined for a 26-10 (.722) record in matches that have gone the distance.

     

     

    Trailing 2-0, it was Notre Dame's top player, junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School), who began the comeback by finishing off a 7-5, 6-2 triumph against Brian Hung of Hong Kong at No. 1. Bass - the eighth-ranked player in college tennis - avenged a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) loss to Hung in the semifinals of the 2004 ITA Midwest Championships and became the first Notre Dame player to reach 20 singles wins on the season, improving to 20-5, including 7-4 in dual action at No. 1.

    Next Helgeson came back to prevail 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 over Andrew Mazlin in a battle of freshmen at No. 3. He moved to 15-4 on the season, including 8-3 in dual play. Helgeson is unbeaten in four three-set affairs.

    Buchanan then came back to beat freshman Scott Bruckmann 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6 to put Notre Dame within a point of victory. Soon thereafter, Keckley, a graduate of St. Joseph's High School in South Bend, finished the rally by knocking off 62nd-ranked Ryan Heller 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4 to put ND up 4-2. The Irish junior improved to 12-2 on the season and leads the team in singles victories in dual action with a 10-1 mark. Keckley - now 5-1 on the season in three-set matches - earned his first career victory against a nationally-ranked player, becoming the eighth player on the current Irish roster to do so.

    Notre Dame dropped the doubles point against a lower-ranked team for the first time this season, losing 8-6 decisions at Nos. 1 and 3. First off the court was the top match, where Hung and Matko Maravic - who were ranked 22nd in the nation in the preseason - prevailed over Keckley and King. It was the second year in a row that Hung and Maravic won a tight one at No. 1 in helping the Wolverines win the doubles point, as the pair took a tiebreaker in the final match remaining in 2005. Keckley and Langenkamp had registered a 9-7 victory against the Michigan duo in last fall's Tom Fallon Invitational.

    Bruckmann and Steve Peretz then beat the Irish squad of Helgeson and sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) by the same score at No. 3 to give Michigan the doubles point for the third consecutive time against Notre Dame. It was the first defeat for Roth - following six consecutive victories - since he was inserted into the lineup for the first time on Feb. 5.

    Langenkamp and sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) avoided the sweep by winning a tiebreaker at No. 2 for a 9-8 (7-3) victory against Heller and Mazlin. The Notre Dame team is 4-0 together this season and 17-7 as a team during their careers. The senior continued to lead the Irish in both overall doubles wins (12-4 record) and victories in partnered play in dual matches (9-2).

    Michigan went up 2-0 when 58th-ranked Maravic of Croatia beat #14 Parbhu 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2. It was a rematch of the quarterfinals of October's ITA Midwest Championships, when the Irish sophomore outlasted Maravic 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (11-9), 6-2 for the victory.

    The final match on was the latest chapter in the recent series between Langenkamp and Peretz. In August, the Irish player won a match tiebreaker in the third round of the ITA Summer National Championships in Bloomington, Ind., en route to claiming the title. In September, Langenkamp won, this time by scores of 6-3, 6-1 at Notre Dame's Courtney Tennis Center in the Tom Fallon Invitational. On Saturday, the Notre Dame senior came through again, taking a match tiebreaker at No. 6 to win 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 1-0 (10-2).

    Notre Dame beat Michigan for the fifth consecutive year and 15th time in the last 18 meetings, but the Wolverines still hold a hefty 41-26 advantage in the all-time series, due in large part to a 23-match winning streak bookended by Irish victories in 1960 and '90.

    It was a matchup of two of the winningest programs in college tennis history, as Notre Dame brought its all-time win total to 1,020, which ranks seventh all-time. Michigan is eighth at 1,012.

    #31 Notre Dame 5, #42 Michigan 2
    Singles
    No. 1:	#8 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Brian Hung (M) 7-5, 6-2
    No. 2:	#58 Matko Maravic (M) def. #14 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) 6-3, 6-4
    No. 3:	Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Andrew Mazlin (M) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
    No. 4:	Ryan Keckley (ND) def. #62 Ryan Heller (M) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
    No. 5:	#65 Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Steve Peretz (M) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 1-0 (10-2)
    No. 6:	Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Scott Bruckmann (M) 1-6, 6-3, 6-1
    Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3, 6, 4*, 5
    Doubles
    No. 1:	Hung/Maravic (M) def. Keckley/King (ND) 8-6
    No. 2:	Langenkamp/Parbhu (ND) def. Heller/Mazlin (M) 9-8 (7-3)
    No. 3:	Bruckmann/Peretz (M) def. Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) 8-6
    Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2
    * - indicates clinching victory
    
    	
    
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