March 24, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will hit the road this weekend for a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference matchups against Virginia and Georgia Tech.
WHAT: Matches 19 & 20
WHO: Notre Dame (10-8, 4-2 ACC) @ No. 2 Virginia (14-2, 4-0 ACC) | Notre Dame @ Georgia Tech (11-4, 4-1 ACC)
WHEN: 3 p.m. ET, March 25 | 2 p.m. ET, March 27
WHERE: Snyder Tennis Complex (Charlottesville, Va.) | Ken Byers Tennis Complex (Atlanta, Ga.)
FOLLOW: Live Stats and Video @ Virginia | Live Scoring @ Georgia Tech
Below, find all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
Virginia’s only two losses came back in February, as the Cavaliers lost back-to-back matches to top-10 foes North Carolina and Illinois. The Cavs placed second to the Tar Heels at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, while they dropped a 4-3 non-conference contest to the Illini two weeks later. Virginia has won six straight matches, including two consecutive 7-0 victories over NC State and Florida State. The Cavs boast six ranked singles players, five of whom see regular time in the lineup. They are led by No. 7 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (10-4) and No. 8 Ryan Shane (9-4), while No. 63 Collin Altimirano (13-2), No. 88 JC Aragone (13-1) and No. 124 Mac Styslinger (7-5) round out a strong singles lineup. Virginia also claims two top-10 doubles teams, as No. 2 Shane and Luca Corintelli (9-2) and No. 8 Styslinger and Kwiatkowski (9-1) lead the doubles contingent. The Irish are 1-12 all-time against Virginia
Scouting Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets have turned in a solid season thus far, and have won eight of their last nine matches to break into the top 35 of the Oracle/ITA team rankings at No. 32. Georgia Tech is led by No. 11 Christopher Eubanks (12-1 in dual play), while Carlos Benito (9-6), Nathan Rakitt (7-2) and Daniel Yun (5-1) are also pacing the team in singles. Michael Kay and Casey Kay come in at No. 54 in the doubles rankings with a 5-4 dual record, while Benito and Eubanks are 9-2 and Andrew Li and Rakitt are 8-4. The Irish lead the all-time series with the Yellow Jackets 2-1.
ACC Player of the Week
Quentin Monaghan was named the ACC Player of the Week on Tuesday following a strong weekend with wins over two top-30 singles opponents. Monaghan, a native of Chatham, New Jersey, kicked off the weekend Friday with a 7-6(5), 6-3 over No. 20 Nicolas Alvarez of Duke as the Irish scored a hard-fought 5-2 win over the Blue Devils. He returned to the court Sunday to defeat No. 28 Piotr Lomacki of Miami 6-2, 6-4, with the Irish also picking up a 5-2 win over the Hurricanes. It was the first time this season Monaghan had recorded consecutive wins over ranked opponents.
With 88 career doubles wins, senior Alex Lawson has moved into a tie for third place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. His 88-49 (.642) record puts him just behind Jakub Pietrowski (95-45), Greg Andrews(93-50) and Billy Pecor (88-45) on the career register. Lawson has been ranked within the top 10 in doubles in parts of each of the last three seasons, and has qualified for the past two NCAA Doubles Championships with former partners Andrews (’14) and Pecor (’15).
Individual Rankings Summary
Seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson ranked at No. 14 in the most recent national doubles rankings (March 22) — though the pair has not played together since January 29 — while Monaghan rose nine spots to No. 33 in the latest singles poll.
Last Time Out
The Irish picked up a pair of big wins last weekend, defeating Duke and Miami (Fla.) at home, both by a score of 5-2. In a match that was closer than the final score indicated, the Irish beat the Blue Devils Friday by winning six of seven tiebreaker sets, and both singles matches that went into decisive third sets. On Sunday, the Irish lost the doubles point to the Hurricanes, but came back to win five of six singles matches to secure the win.
ITA Rules Changes
This season, the NCAA with the support of the ITA, will utilize a no-ad scoring format for the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis championships. If a game reaches deuce, the next point will win the game. Additionally, eight-game pro-sets will no longer be utilized in doubles matches, with teams playing one set to six, with a tiebreak at six-all. At the individual doubles championships, matches will consist of the best-of-three sets, with a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. The rules changes are designed to improve the pace of play in championship matches.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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.