Feb. 22, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- For the second time in eight days, the University of Notre Dame men's tennis team went up against the No. 1 team in the country. Last week, it was the Virginia Cavaliers. Today, the Irish fell to No. 1 Ohio State in a heartbreakingly close match, 4-2.
"I give Ohio State all the credit," said head coach Ryan Sachire. "I mean, we backed them into a corner, and they withstood our best shot. They're a great team and they did a great job today. Our guys tried so hard and battled so hard. I don't know if we played our best match of the season, I thought we were a little too hyped up in certain spots, but that's tennis. Ohio State did an amazing job of taking our best punch and still being victorious."
Before an incredible crowd--488 was the official attendance in the Eck Tennis Pavilion--Notre Dame set a strong tone early by taking the doubles point. All three matches came down to the wire. Senior Ryan Bandy and sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger, despite falling behind 5-2, came back to win their match against Ralf Steinbach and Chris Diaz, 7-5. Sophomore Alex Lawson and senior Greg Andrews fell to the No. 2 doubles team in the country, Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka, 9-7. The point came down to the match on court two, where senior Billy Pecor and freshman Josh Hagar clinched it for the Irish, beating Herkko Pollanen and Hunter Callahan, 8-6.
Things were looking good for the Irish at the start of singles, as Bandy was off the court with a quick 6-3, 6-3 victory over Steinbach at No. 4. Andrews won his first set in a tight tiebreaker against Kobelt, and Monaghan was up in his first set. But then a couple of lost tiebreakers sent the Irish spiraling.
Schnurrenberger lost at No. 6 to Callahan, 6-4, 6-4, and Monaghan fell in straight sets as well despite being up early. He lost to Diaz at No. 2, 7-6, 6-4.
Freshman Eddy Covalschi lost his first set but battled back to win his second and get the third to a tiebreaker. He then fell to Kevin Metka, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6.
The match was clinched for Ohio State by Kobelt, who battled back to beat Andrews at No. 1, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6. Every set of their match went to a tiebreaker. Hagar's match at No. 3 was then abandoned.
Notre Dame will rally in a matter of hours to take on Ball State. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3 for USTA's College MatchDay.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant