April 7, 2017
By Joanne Norell
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Seeking to avoid its third straight conference loss, the University of Notre Dame men's tennis team corralled momentum early and held on in the face of a spirited home team to take a 4-2 win over No. 30 Florida State on Friday at the Speicher Tennis Center.
How It Happened
The Irish (12-8, 3-4 ACC) won a hard-fought doubles point, coming back to claim the last two matches after Florida State won on Court 3. First, seniors Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi came back from a 5-3 deficit to down Lucas Poullain and Jose Gracia 7-5. Notre Dame clinched as freshman Matt Gamble and sophomore Alex Lebedev won by the same score on Court 2 over Terrell and Terrance Whitehurst.
Florida State (13-8, 3-4 ACC) snatched the first match of singles with Gracia snapping Gamble's four-match win streak with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 3.
But the Irish regained the lead when 54th-ranked Hagar broke out of a two-match rut with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over No. 78 Guy Iradukunda.
Lebedev extended the lead, defeating Terrance Whitehurst 6-4, 6-3 on Court 4, but the Seminoles pulled back within one when Poullain downed Covalschi 7-6(0), 6-4.
A set of close matches remained on Courts 5 and 6, but the decision came down to the final lineup position with Broadus facing Terrell Whitehurst on Court 6. After winning the first set 7-5, Broadus found himself in a similar scenario in the second. With the set tied at 4-4, Whitehurst secured a break to go up 5-4, but Broadus broke back to tie it back up. The Irish sophomore held in the next set, then forced a couple of errors on Whitehurst's backhand to break the Seminole for the victory.
It's the third time in as many seasons that Notre Dame and Florida State have played to 4-3 (or 4-2) decisions, with the Irish winning two of those matches, both in Tallahassee.
Coach Ryan Sachire Says
On what the win does for the team's confidence going forward...
"It's huge. Every match is a battle and when you find yourself on the winning side you start to get that grit and confidence that you'll win them all. We're in the early part of that confidence, but we feel good going forward."
The Irish will head south to cap the weekend against Miami at noon ET on Sunday in Coral Gables, Florida.
Notre Dame 4, No. 30 Florida State 2
April 7, 2017
Speicher Tennis Center
1. No. 54 Josh Hagar (ND) def. No. 78 Guy Iradukunda (FSU) 6-2, 6-3
2. Lucas Poullain (FSU) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND) 7-6(0), 6-4
3. Jose Gracia (FSU) def. Matt Gamble (ND) 6-3, 6-3
4. Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Terrance Whitehurst (FSU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) vs. Rana Roop Bhullar (FSU) 4-6, 6-3, 3-5, unfinished
6. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Terrell Whitehurst (FSU) 7-5, 7-5
1. No. 24 Eddy Covalschi / Josh Hagar (ND) def. No. 89 Lucas Poullain / Jose Gracia (FSU) 7-5
2. Matt Gamble / Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Terrell Whitehurst / Terrance Whitehurst (FSU) 7-5
3. Guy Iradukunda / Jack Haffey (FSU) def. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) 6-1
-- 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.