April 20, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — With confidence derived from a season-ending four-match win streak — including a victory over No. 1 North Carolina — the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will begin its pursuit of an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on Thursday against Duke.
WHAT: ACC Championships
WHO: Notre Dame (14-12, 6-6 ACC) vs. Duke (11-14, 4-8 ACC)
WHERE: Cary Tennis Park | Cary, N.C.
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET, April 21
FOLLOW: ACC Championship Central
BRACKET: 2016 ACC Men’s Tennis Championship Bracket
Below, find all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
Irish ACC Overview
The seventh-seeded Irish will face 10th-seeded Duke in the second round of the ACC Championship on Wednesday. The teams last met on March 18 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, when the Irish defeated the Blue Devils 5-2. It was a tight match from the beginning, with seven tiebreakers sets and two three-set matches. The Irish won five of seven tiebreakers and both three-set matches in the victory.
The winner of Wednesday’s match between Notre Dame and Duke will face No. 2 seed Wake Forest at 1 p.m. ET Friday. Saturday’s semifinal matches will take place at 2 p.m. ET, with the match featuring the highest-seeded team streamed on ESPN3. Sunday’s 2 p.m. ET championship match will also be streamed on ESPN3.
With 90 career doubles wins, senior Alex Lawson has moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. His 90-53 (.629) record puts him just behind Jakub Pietrowski (95-45) and Greg Andrews (93-50) and just ahead of 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 moved into No. 12 in the most recent national doubles rankings, while juniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar fell five spots to No. 44 this week (April 19). In singles, Monaghan stayed put at No. 32.
Last Time Out
The Irish closed out the regular season Sunday with a 6-1 victory over NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Irish won the doubles point with wins on Courts 1 and 2, then went on to win five of six singles matches, all in straight sets.
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 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.