May 13, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will look to continue its recent strong play as the Irish enter the NCAA Championship this weekend, with the first test coming against Stanford in the first round hosted by Northwestern University. Notre Dame has won five of its last six matches, while Stanford has won four of its last six contests.
WHAT: NCAA Championship First Round
WHO: Notre Dame (15-13) vs. Stanford (14-10)
WHERE: Christie Tennis Center | Evanston, Ill.
WHEN: 11 a.m. ET, May 14
FOLLOW: Tournament Central
LIVE SCORING: Link
BRACKET: 2016 NCAA DI Men’s Championship Interactive Bracket
Below, find all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
Irish NCAA Overview
The Irish will make their 13th-straight NCAA Division I Men’s Championships appearance when they take on Stanford in first-round action Saturday in Evanston, Illinois, and their 25th in 26 seasons. Friday’s match will be the fourth meeting in the all-time series between Notre Dame and Stanford, with the Cardinal claiming all three previous meetings (1991, 1992, 1995).
The Cardinal are led by No. 15 Tom Fawcett (14-5 dual record) and No. 87 David Wilczynski (6-10), while Maciek Romanowicz (14-4) boasts the team’s best singles record. Fawcett and Romanowicz have combined for a 9-3 doubles record and the No. 23 national ranking, while Romanowicz and Nolan Page rank at No. 71 (4-1). Paige and Wilczynski are 9-3 in doubles at the No. 2 slot this season.
The winner of Friday’s match will meet the winner of the pod’s other first-round matchup between No. 14 Northwestern (25-4) and Valparaiso (20-5).
Tournament matches will be regulation dual matches with three (3) six-game doubles sets played for one team point, followed by six (6) singles matches, each valued at one team point, played in best-of-three sets. No-ad scoring will be used and a seven-point tiebreaker will be played at six-games-all.
With 91 career doubles wins, senior Alex Lawson has moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. His 91-53 (.632) 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, has qualified for the past two NCAA Doubles Championships with former partners Andrews (’14) and Pecor (’15), and will compete at this season’s tournament with current partner Quentin Monaghan.
The Irish boasted two All-Atlantic Coast Conference team members when the conference announced the teams April 28, with senior Quentin Monaghan and junior Josh Hagar earning league honors. Monaghan made his second consecutive All-ACC First Team appearance and his fourth career all-conference nod, while Hagar was named to the All-ACC Third Team for his first all-conference selection. Monaghan is 12-9 in dual singles matches this season playing at the top of the Irish lineup, with a 20-17 overall record and a No. 34 national singles ranking. Hagar earned his first career All-ACC nod after a 12-9 singles campaign, including a 6-6 mark in conference play.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its regional awards Monday, with seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson taking home hardware. Monaghan, an All-American and two-time Irish captain, earned the Midwest Regional ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, while Lawson was named the region’s Most Improved Player, which is given to a senior each season.
Individual Rankings Summary
Seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson moved to No. 15 in the most recent national doubles rankings, while juniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar jumped a spot to No. 50 this week (May 6). Covalschi and Lawson also entered the rankings as a duo, despite not playing together since March 20. In singles, Monaghan fell one spot to No. 35, while Hagar moved up a spot to No. 105. Hagar entered the rankings April 26 after defeating Wake Forest’s Petros Chrysochos (then No. 19) during the ACC quarterfinal on April 22.
Last Time Out
The Irish advanced to the quarterfinal of the ACC Championship last month, picking up a 4-1 victory over Duke in their opening-round match before falling in a razor-thin 4-3 decision to eventual champion Wake Forest. The Irish took the match against the Demon Deacons to the last singles decision, thanks to a three-set win in the tiebreaker by senior Kenneth Sabacinski to make it 3-3, but Wake Forest took the match with a three-set tiebreaker victory on Court 4. Juniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar also earned singles victories for the Irish, with Hagar defeating then-No. 19 Petros Chrysochos to hand the ACC Freshman of the Year only his third loss of the season.
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.