May 26, 2016
By Joanne Norell
TULSA, Okla. -- For the second year in a row, the University of Notre Dame men's tennis team will send a doubles pairing to the NCAA Doubles Championship Round of 16.
Fifteenth-ranked Irish senior duo Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson defeated the tournament's No. 4 seed (and fifth-ranked) Korey Lovett and Mazen Osama of Alabama 6-4, 6-3 Thursday in the opening round of doubles play at the Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa. On Friday, the Irish will face the winner of the match between Georgia's Austin Smith and Ben Wagland and Tulane's Chin-Shan Jao and Dominik Koepfer, which will be played this evening.
The Irish went down early in the first set as the Crimson Tide duo went up a break at 2-1, but the Lawson and Monaghan quickly pulled even to make it 3-3. They held for the next three games, but the Irish broke again while up 5-4 to take the first set.
The teams held for the first several games of the second set, but the Irish got the break to go up 5-3 with the chance to serve out the match. With Monaghan serving, the Irish fell into a 0-40 hole, but swept the next four points to ensure their spot in the next round.
"The game plan going in was really just to stick with what we know we can do best and what we know we can do repeatedly, and we did a good job of that," Lawso said. "We did a nice job today of taking care of what we could and we're really excited to keep it rolling through the rest of the tournament."
The win was Lawson's 92nd career doubles victory, which puts him within one win of second place on the the all-time Irish doubles win list.
Last season, Lawson advanced to the Round of 16 with partner Billy Pecor, the first Irish duo to do so since 1998.
The time of Friday's match will be announced later this evening.
Earlier in the day, Monaghan saw his singles season come to an end in a 6-4, 6-1 loss to Mackenzie McDonald in the Round of 32.
Facing the nation's sixth-ranked player, Monaghan picked up the first break of the match to go up 3-2 on McDonald early in the first set. McDonald, however, immediately returned the favor, then broke Monaghan again to win the set 6-4. The momentum carried the UCLA product through the second set en route to a two-set victory.
Monaghan finished his Irish singles career with a 101-47 record, good for a three-way tie for 10th on the all-time Irish singles win list.
2016 NCAA Singles & Doubles Championship
Case Tennis Center
Round of 64
No. 35 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 57 Strong Kirchheimer (NU) 6-4, 6-0
Round of 32
No. 6 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) def. No. 35 Quentin Monaghan (ND) 6-4, 6-1
Round of 32
No. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 5 Korey Lovett / Mazen Osama (ALA) 6-4, 6-3
Round of 16
No. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) vs. No. 11 Austin Smith / Ben Wagland (UGA) OR No. 18 Chin-Shan Jao / Dominik Koepfer (Tulane)
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.