Feb. 11, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team opened Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday with a sweep, defeating visiting Boston College 7-0 in the first of a three-match weekend at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
How It Happened
Notre Dame picked up decisive victories on Courts 1 and 3 to take the doubles point. Sophomore Alex Lebedev and freshman Matt Gamble snared the first decision with a 6-2 win over Kent Mukai and Sean Mullins, while sixth-ranked senior pair Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar clinched the point with a win over Alexander Chiefallo and Hank Workman by the same score.
The Irish worked quickly in singles, getting three fast-paced victories to clinch the match in less than two hours. Freshman Johnathan Small got things started with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jeffrey Melvin at the No. 6 slot, followed closely by classmate Guillermo Cabrera’s 6-2, 6-1 win over Chieffalo at the No. 5 slot. Hagar clinched the victory for the Irish moments later with his own 6-1, 6-1 victory over Aidan McNulty at the No. 1 position.
Gamble extended the Irish lead to 5-0, defeating Sean Mullins 6-3, 6-2 on Court 3. Sophomore Grayson Broadus then picked up a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Mukai on Court 4 before Covalschi completed the sweep with a 6-2, 7-5 victory on Court 2 over Workman.
On harnessing energy early on…
“I thought we had a really good week of practice and I thought our day (on Friday) was awesome with the vibe of the team and the energy level, and that carried over into today. Any time you beat an ACC opponent in an opener, I think it’s a significant win. I’m happy with the way we played today and how our guys competed.”
On performances that stood out…
“I thought, again, our leadership at the top with the No. 1 doubles team (of Hagar and Covalschi) getting off to a 3-0 lead and really setting the tone for the rest of the group to be able to relax a little bit knowing that No. 1 doubles had their match under control. Once we got past that 10-minute mark, I thought we rolled really well. Then in most of the singles matches there was a consistency of focus and energy throughout the entire time. That’s good, and it’s hard to do. We race out to leads and when you see your teammates are winning, sometimes it’s easy to take the foot off the gas, but I thought for the most part we did a good job of (staying focused).”
On the mindset heading into Sunday’s match against No. 17 Illinois…
“Illinois is a great team and we have a lot of respect for them. Our guys are going to be ready to play, for sure. We look forward to the challenge. I don’t know that there’s a ton of carry-over from today other than the fact that we’re playing on our home courts and we’re in a good routine and excited about playing tomorrow.”
The Irish will continue their seven-match homestand Sunday when they welcome No. 17 Illinois and Detroit at noon and 5 p.m. ET, respectively, to the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Notre Dame 7, Boston College 0
February 11, 2017
Eck Tennis Pavilion
1. No. 34 Josh Hagar (ND) def. Aidan McNulty (BC) 6-1. 6-1
2. Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Hank Workman (BC) 6-2, 7-5
3. Matt Gamble (ND) def. Sean Mullins (BC) 6-3, 6-2
4. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Kent Mukai (BC) 6-1, 6-3
5. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) def. Alexander Chieffalo (BC) 6-2, 6-1
6. Johnathan Small (ND) def. Jeffrey Melvin (BC) 6-1, 6-1
1. No. 6 Eddy Covalschi / Josh Hagar (ND) def. Alexander Chieffalo / Hank Workman (BC) 6-2
2. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) vs. Conor Mullins / Aidan McNulty (BC) 4-4, unfinished
3. Matt Gamble / Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Kent Mukai / Sean Mullins (BC) 6-2
-- 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.