Jan. 20, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame men's tennis team won its seventh straight season opener Friday, kicking off 2017 with a 7-0 win over Ball State at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
How It Happened
The Irish won the doubles point, with 10th-ranked senior duo Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi defeating Lucas Andersen and Andrew Stutz 6-2 to give the Irish an early advantage. Freshman Matt Gamble and sophomore Alex Lebedev secured the point with a 6-3 win over Conner Andersen and Nemanja Guzina at the No. 2 slot. It was the first collegiate dual doubles win for both Gamble and Lebedev.
Lebedev then gave the Irish a 2-0 lead, cruising to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Guzina at the No. 3 singles spot. He was followed quickly by Covalschi, who defeated Stutz 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 to give the Irish a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Grayson Broadus clinched the win with his 6-2, 6-1 victory over Patrick Downs on Court 5.
Gamble picked up his first dual singles with next with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Marko Guzina, putting the Irish up 5-0, while freshman Guillermo Cabrera also picked up the first win of his career in a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory over Conner Anderson.
Hagar, who enters the spring ranked 27th nationally, closed out the day coming from behind to defeat Lucas Andersen 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-3, giving the Irish a clean sweep.
Five Irish singles players won their first sets, giving the Irish a distinct advantage on the way to clinching the win.
On getting the season-opening win...
"I thought we played OK. It was a pretty standard first match of the season. I don't think we performed at our highest level of execution, but that's to be expected. We'll play better as the year goes on and we'll benefit from having this match under our belt. I loved the energy and start from our freshmen, especially, but I want to single out Josh and Eddy for how they came out in the doubles. Leadership takes different forms, but the most important form is probably how you prepare and how you come out competing from the first ball onward. You set the example for the rest of the team and I thought those guys did an amazing job all day today and how they started their match. It kind of gave us a sense of comfort for the other courts and they were playing real well and that's what you hope from your senior captains."
On looking ahead to Sunday at Kentucky...
"We're going to play better. It's different -- even for the older guys, dual matches are different from fall tournaments and from inter-squad sets and practice matches that you play. We'll benefit from this and I'm confident we're going to play cleaner on Sunday."
The Irish will head to Lexington, Kentucky, on Sunday to take on No. 15 Kentucky at noon ET at the Boone Tennis Center.
Notre Dame 7, Ball State 0
January 20, 2017
Eck Tennis Pavilion
1. No. 27 Josh Hagar (ND) def. Lucas Andersen (BSU) 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-3
2. Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Andrew Stutz (BSU) 6-2, 6-3
3. No. 119 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Nemanja Guzina (BSU) 6-1, 6-2
4. Matt Gamble (ND) def. Marko Guzina (BSU) 6-2, 6-4
5. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Patrick Downs (BSU) 6-2, 6-1
6. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) def. Conner Andersen (BSU) 7-6(4), 6-1
1. No. 10 Eddy Covalschi / Josh Hagar (ND) def. Lucas Andersen / Andrew Stutz (BSU) 6-2
2. Alex Lebedev / Matt Gamble (ND) def. Conner Andersen / Nemanja Guzina (BSU) 6-3
3. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) vs. Patrick Downs / Marko Guzina (BSU) 5-5, unfinished
-- ND --
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication, and earned her master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.