Feb. 28, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- Once again proving its competitive force as a team, the sixth-ranked Notre Dame men's tennis team defeated Virginia Tech in a tough match tonight at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The win came down to the final match on court three, where freshman Josh Hagar pulled out a 4-3 win for the Irish.
"It was a great match. We knew it would be--Virginia Tech is a really good team," said head coach Ryan Sachire. "Our guys found themselves in a dogfight and were able to pull it out. I don't know that we competed with same confidence and composure that we had at earlier stages of the season, and we'll address that and be better because of it."
To start the night, Notre Dame continued its pattern of being dominant in doubles, with Hagar and partner senior Billy Pecor quickly dismantling Amerigo Contini and Florian Nicoud 8-1 on court two and senior Greg Andrews and sophomore Alex Lawson defeating Andreas Bjerrehus and Hunter Koontz 8-6 at No. 1 doubles. Senior Ryan Bandy and sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger's match against Jai Corbett and Joao Monteiro was left unfinished on court three to start singles matches.
Sophomore Quentin Monaghan beat Bjerrehus in straight sets at No. 2, 6-4, 6-2, and after winning the first set in a tiebreak, freshman Eddy Covalschi didn't drop even a game against Aaron Gomez in the second. He won his match at No. 5, 7-6(3), 6-0.
From there, things got a little closer for the Irish. Although they had a 3-0 lead in the match, Schnurrenberger, Andrews and Bandy all dropped closed matches to their Virginia Tech opponents. The outcome of the match rested on the shoulders of Hagar, who lost his first set to Koontz in a tiebreaker, but then came back to win the next two sets, dropping only one game. He won his match, 6(5)-7, 6-0, 6-1.
"Josh had a great night," Sachire said. "The kid is a stud. He's way more mature than your typical freshman. He's a guy that you believe in coming down the stretch because he believes in himself. He did show that confidence and composure and the determination to get the job done tonight. The kid that he played hasn't lost all season, and Josh was really able to step up."
There will be a quick turnaround for the team, as they will now travel to Charlottesville, Va., to face No. Virginia for the second time this season. The last time the Irish went up against the Cavaliers, the other team was No. 1 in the country and Notre Dame ended up falling, 4-2.
"We talk about grittiness with our team all year, and tonight, in a lot of spots, we were gritty," Sachire explained. "We were gritty as a team to get the win, and that's going to be the same mantra against Virginia. We know they're really good, but we know we're really good too, and it's going to be a tough match. If we can keep that competitiveness down the stretch, I think we'll have a shot."
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant