March 28, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team lost a heartbreaker of a match to No. 14 Duke this evening. The Irish fell 4-3, putting them at 13-6 on the season.
“We’ve been in matches like this where we’ve come out on top earlier in the season,” said head coach Ryan Sachire. “We’ve talked to our guys about how this is what it’s like to be an elite team and this is what it’s like to play against other elite teams. You’re going to be in matches like these.”
A tightly contested doubles point kicked off the match—at one point, Notre Dame led each court, 5-4. But then No. 1 and No. 3 pulled ahead, clinching the point for the Irish. Senior Greg Andrews and sophomore Alex Lawson—now the seventh-ranked doubles team in the country—defeated Raphael Hemmeler and Fred Saba, 8-5. On court three, the newer team of freshman Eddy Covalschi and sophomore Quentin Monaghan beat Bruno Semenzato and Daniel McCall, 8-6. Senior Billy Pecor and freshman Josh Hagar’s match at No. 2 was left unfinished.
Sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger was the quickest off the court, defeating McCall in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. Shortly after, Monaghan dropped a match to Saba, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2.
Andrews battled hard at No. 1 against Tahir, but ultimately fell after a match of long points, 6-2, 6-3. Duke had tied up the score of the match at 2-2.
Hagar came through for Notre Dame at No. 5 singles, defeating Josh Levine, 6-4, 6-3. His victory put the Irish up 3-2, but senior Ryan Bandy lost a heartbreaker of a match. After losing his first set to Raphael Hemmeler, 6-2, Bandy came roaring back to win his second set, 6-1. He was in a position to win the third set and the match, but Hemmeler fought off several match points and came back to win the match, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.
The match would come down to Eddy Covalschi, who has been the deciding factor for the Irish at several points during the year, including twice early in the season against Kentucky. Against Semenzato, Covalschi battled back after a close loss of his first set, but ultimately lost the match in the third, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
“We give Duke a lot of credit—they did well down the stretch,” Sachire said. “They were probably the more aggressive team in big moments, and that’s probably a reflection of that they really came in here and wanted this thing. Not that our guys didn’t, but we maybe played a little conservative at times and Duke took advantage of it. We’ll bounce back and be better because of it.”
The Irish get back on the court this Sunday at 1 p.m., when they face No. 8 North Carolina at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
“We’ll put tonight behind us,” Sachire explained. “We talked to the guys about making sure that they treat themselves well and get a good dinner and get plenty of sleep and not beat themselves up. We’ll come in here tomorrow and have an energetic practice and be ready to go against a great team on Sunday.”
1. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Greg Andrews (ND), 6-2, 6-3
2. Fred Saba (DU) def. Quentin Monaghan (ND), 6-2, 6-1
3. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Ryan Bandy (ND), 6-2, 1-6, 7-5
4. Bruno Semenzato (DU) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND), 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
5. Josh Hagar (ND) def. Josh Levine (DU), 6-4, 6-3
6. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) def. Daniel McCall (DU), 6-1, 6-2
1. Greg Andrews/Alex Lawson (ND) def. Raphael Hemmeler/Fred Saba (DU), 8-5
2. Billy Pecor/Josh Hagar (ND) vs. Jason Tahit/Josh Levine (DU), 6-6
3. Quentin Monagha/Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Bruno Semenzato/Daniel McCall (DU), 8-6
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant