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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

Men's Tennis: Wildcats snatch victory

No. 30 Notre Dame faced its toughest competition up to this point in the season Tuesday night when it played No. 37 Northwestern. The undefeated Wildcats (5-0) beat the Irish 4-3 in a close match. The loss marked the first for the Irish (2-1) in dual meet play, following two 7-0 sweeps Saturday against Marquette and Western Illinois.

"We knew [Northwestern] was a good team and would fight hard and they delivered," senior Blas Moros said.

Northwestern took the first point of the night in doubles play. The Irish pair of junior Billy Pecor and freshman Alex Lawson in the No. 2 slot lost 8-5 to Northwestern senior Sidarth Balaji and junior Raleigh Smith. In the No. 3 slot, Irish juniors Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley were overpowered by Northwestern sophomore Alex Pasareanu and freshman Mihir Kumar to finalize the first point for the Wildcat squad. In the No. 1 slot, Notre Dame junior Greg Andrews and senior Spencer Talmadge were trailing 7-6 to senior Spencer Wolf and freshman Fedor Baev, but the match did not finish before the Wildcats clinched the doubles point.

"We are still working out the kinks in doubles, but we are only an inch away from being very good," Moros said.

Junior Ryan Bandy put Notre Dame on the board when he leveled the score at one, winning the No. 6 series against Kumar 7-5, 6-3. The Wildcats bounced back to take the lead once again when Balaji beat Irish freshman Quentin Monaghan 7-5, 6-3 in the No. 3 singles spot.

Pecor won the first set in the No. 4 position, but Pasareanu won the final sets 6-2 and 6-4 to stretch the Wildcat lead to 3-1.
No. 110 Moros closed the gap to 3-2 for Notre Dame after winning back-to-back 7-5 sets to win the No. 2 singles.

In the No. 5 spot, Irish sophomore Wyatt McCoy had a good start with a 6-3 win in the first set, but Wildcat senior Chris Jackman came back to win the next sets 6-0 and 6-4, respectively, to take the clinching point. No. 80 Andrews closed out the night in the No. 1 slot by coming back from behind to beat Wolf 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

"I'm proud of our guys for the effort they gave in singles," Moros said. "Our younger guys are working very hard and I know they will deliver next time they're in a tough situation."

The Irish travel to Norman, Okla., to face Harvard and either Oklahoma or Memphis on Jan. 26 and 27, respectively.

Contact Megan Finneran at