April 1, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team got a Herculean effort from its senior leaders during singles play Friday against visiting No. 22 Florida State, but the Irish came up just short at the very end of what turned into a match of comeback bids.
Thirty-third-ranked senior Quentin Monaghan nearly completed an improbable victory over No. 12 Benjamin Lock in the final singles match that would have given Notre Dame the win over the Seminoles, but fell in a third-set tiebreaker as the Irish dropped a 4-3 decision.
The Irish (10-11, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) got a doubles win from its top tandem, but the Seminoles (14-6, 6-3 ACC) snared the point with wins on Courts 2 and 3. Fourteenth-ranked senior duo Alex Lawson and Monaghan jumped out to a 3-0 start over No. 11 Lock and Marco Nunez, going on to collect a 6-4 win. But Florida State pulled even in the win count as Michael Rinaldi and Aziz Dougaz bested freshman Grayson Broadus and junior Josh Hagar 6-3. The point was sealed at the No. 3 slot with Jose Gracia and Terrance Whitehurst downing junior Eddy Covalschi and senior Kenneth Sabacinski 6-4.
Momentum swung toward Notre Dame early in singles, as the Irish got first-set wins on five of the six courts. The first decision went to Lawson, who evened the score at 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Aziz Dougaz on Court 4. Covalschi went on to beat Rinaldi 6-4, 6-4 on Court 3, and Sabacinski made it 3-1 with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Jake Albo on Court 6.
Florida State struck back, though, with No. 60 Nunez earning a 7-6(2), 7-5 win over Hagar at the No. 2 slot, and Gracia coming back to defeat Broadus 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) at No. 5 to tie the match.
On Court 1, Monaghan picked up the first set over Lock, overcoming a 4-1 deficit in a tiebreaker to win 8-6. Lock forced a third set and looked poised to clinch the win after taking a 5-2 lead in the final stanza. Monaghan won the next four straight games, however, to take a 6-5 lead with the opportunity to serve for the match. But Lock broke back, instigating the tiebreaker and regaining the momentum to win 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(4) and clinch the match for the Seminoles.
The Irish will host both Virginia Tech (12-6, 4-4 ACC) and Chicago State (2-13, 0-2 WAC) in a doubleheader on Sunday at the Courtney Tennis Center. The Irish and Hokies will square off at noon ET, with the match against the Cougars slated to take place at 7 p.m. ET.
No. 22 Florida State 4, Notre Dame 3
1. No. 12 Benjamin Lock (FSU) def. No. 33 Quentin Monaghan (ND) 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(4)
2. No. 60 Marco Nunez (FSU) def. Josh Hagar (ND) 7-6(2), 7-5
3. Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Michael Rinaldi (FSU) 6-4, 6-4
4. Alex Lawson (ND) def. Aziz Dougaz (FSU) 6-4, 6-0.
5. Jose Gracia (FSU) def. Grayson Broadus (ND) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3)
6. Kenneth Sabacinski (ND) def. Jake Albo (FSU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
1. No. 14 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 11 Benjamin Lock / Marco Nunez (FSU) 6-4
2. Michael Rinaldi / Aziz Dougaz (FSU) def. Grayson Broadus / Josh Hagar (ND) 6-3
3. Jose Gracia / Terrance Whitehurst (FSU) def. Eddy Covalschi / Kenneth Sabacinski (ND) 6-4
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 and earned her master's degree from Georgetown University in 2013.