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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Irish split four weekend matchups

Notre Dame started the weekend slowly. The Irish (12-12, 4-6 ACC) fell to No. 22 Florida State and unranked Virginia Tech before picking up two wins in a Sunday doubleheader over Chicago State to close out the weekend.

Friday’s 4-3 loss to Florida State (14-7, 6-3 ACC) came down to a tiebreaker game. Although Notre Dame’s No. 14 ranked senior doubles pairing of Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan recorded a 6-4 win against Florida State's 11th-ranked doubles team of seniors Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez, the Seminoles won the doubles point as freshmen Grayson Broadus and junior Josh Hagar and junior Eddy Covalschi and senior Kenneth Sabacinski lost their matches 6-3 and 6-4, respectively.

Notre Dame started strong in singles play, winning the first three points with victories from Lawson 6-4, 6-0; Covalschi 6-4, 6-4; and Sabacinski 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, making it 3-1. However, the Seminoles won the remaining two matches to tie the score. In the deciding match, Monaghan faced off against 12th-ranked Benjamin Lock and nearly won, forcing a tiebreaker. The Chathman, New Jersey native eventually fell, however, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(4), and the Seminoles won the match.

Irish senior Quentin Monaghan rushes to return a ball during Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory over Duke on March 18 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Irish senior Quentin Monaghan rushes to return a ball during Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory over Duke on March 18 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Irish senior Quentin Monaghan rushes to return a ball during Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory over Duke on March 18 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

The opening match on Sunday against Virginia Tech lacked the excitment of Friday's contest, with the Irish falling 6-1. Doubles play began with the Hokies (13-6, 5-4 ACC) pairing of seniors Amerigo Contini and Edoardo Tessaro defeating Broadus and Monaghan 6-4. Covalschi and Hagar pulled the Irish even by winning the next match 6-4. Lawson and senior Nicolas Montoya forced a tiebreaker, coming back from a 5-1 deficit, but the Hokies persevered and eventually won 7-6(11). In singles play, Broadus secured the only singles win and the only point of the night for the Irish with a 7-5, 6-2 win.

However, Sunday ended on a high note for the Irish. When Chicago State (2-16, 0-2 WAC) and Notre Dame agreed to play two matches instead of one, the Irish won both, 6-1 and 5-1. The Irish had a 1-0 advantage going into each game, as the Cougars had only five healthy players. In the first game, the Irish took the doubles point with a win 7-5 win by sophomores Drew Dawson and Brendon Kempin, and a forfeit from Chicago. Monagahn, freshmen Daniel Rayl, Kempin, and freshmen Nathan Griffin gave the Irish four more points, and the Cougars got one point in a drawn out 6-4, 5-7, 14-12 win by freshman Gabriel Niculescu over Sabacinski. In the second match, Montoya, Lawson, and Kempin took the first three wins, but Chicago got one point from a 5-7, 6-3, 10-3 win by sophomore Christian Gonzalez. Rayl made the score 5-1 by winning the final match of the night.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire recognized his team's hard work over the weekend but said he sees a need for improvement to be ready for Friday’s match with No. 1 North Carolina.

“As is the case with all ACC weekends, we played very good opponents this past Friday and Sunday," Sachire said. "We played very hard and put ourselves into position to be successful in both matches. However, [we] credit our opponents for executing better in big moments and ultimately finding a way to win. Looking ahead to our match with [North Carolina], we have to focus on two major issues: fixing our doubles so that becomes a major strength for us once again and trusting ourselves in the biggest moments of the matches. We need to be better at seizing opportunities and creating separation from our opponents when those situations present themselves.”

The Irish will have their final home game this Friday at Courtney Tennis Center at 3:30 p.m. . The five Irish seniors (Lawson, Monaghan, Montoya, Sabacinski and Eric Schnurrenberger) will be honored after the game.