Senior Kenneth Sabacinski

Irish Head Down Tobacco Road To Face Duke, UNC

April 2, 2015

Live Stream — Duke
Live Stats — UNC

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will take a trip down Tobacco Road this weekend as it wraps up its final road stretch of the season against Duke and North Carolina on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

The 35th-ranked Irish (12-7, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won four straight matches including a 4-3 victory over No. 32 Florida State last Sunday, will face the fifth-ranked Blue Devils at 3 p.m. EDT on Friday at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. It will be a quick trip southeast on Sunday when the Irish meet No. 19 North Carolina at noon EDT at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill.

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DUKING IT OUT: Friday’s will be the 30th meeting in the all-time series between the Irish and the fifth-ranked Blue Devils (17-3, 4-2 ACC), with Duke owning a 21-8 series lead, including a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame last season at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The teams have met every year since 1994, with Duke taking the last five matches.

Duke dropped a spot in this week’s ITA team rankings after a 6-1 loss to then-No. 8 Virginia last Sunday, but the Blue Devils are 11-3 overall against opponents ranked in the top 50. They boast three ranked singles players in No. 11 Nicolas Alvarez, No. 41 Jason Tahir and No. 101 Raphael Hemmeler and a ranked doubles pair in No. 12 Alvarez and Hemmeler.

EASTER ON CHAPEL HILL: The Irish will spend Easter squaring off with the No. 19 Tar Heels, with North Carolina claiming an 12-8 lead in the all-time series. Last season, UNC (14-8, 3-3 ACC) defeated the Irish 5-2 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Entering the weekend, the Tar Heels have lost three straight matches to Louisville (current No. 23), Virginia (current No. 4) and Virginia Tech (current No. 13). Each of UNC’s eight losses have been to teams currently ranked in the top 25, and the Tar Heels are 5-8 overall against the top 50. UNC has four ranked singles players (No. 12 Brayden Schnur, No. 24 Ronnie Schneider, No. 69 Brett Clark, No. 99 Robert Kelly) and a ranked doubles team (No. 27. Oystein Steiro/Esben Hess-Olesen)

RANKINGS UPDATE: In the latest ITA team poll (March 31) the Irish moved up two spots to No. 35 after picking up a pair wins over ACC opponents Miami and No. 32 Florida State on the road last weekend.

A SINGULAR PERFORMER: In the latest ITA singles poll (March 24), junior Quentin Monaghan jumped five spots to No. 17. Monaghan notched his biggest win of the season March 20 when he downed then-No. 3 Ryan Shane of Virginia, 7-6(4), 6-3. For his efforts, Monaghan was named ACC Player of the Week on March 24. He has won eight straight matches and is 16-2 in dual matches this season and 25-5 overall. Monaghan needs just one singles win to match his overall career high (26, 2013) and two to match his dual-match career high (18, 2013).

DOUBLES DOMINANCE: Doubles partners Billy Pecor and Alex Lawson are one of three ACC doubles duos to be ranked inside the ITA top 10 with a No. 9 ranking. After spending much of the season as the lone conference representative pair in the top 10, Pecor and Lawson were joined last week by Virginia’s Luca Corinteli and Ryan Shane (No. 8) and Wake Forest’s Christian Seraphim and Skander Mansouri (No. 10). With teammates Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar at No. 22, the Irish are one of two programs in the country with two tandems ranked in the top 25, along with TCU (Nos. 18 and 19).

SCORING FORMAT CHANGE: The Atlantic Coast Conference has moved to re-implement the regular scoring format utilized in 2014. Earlier this season, matches were played with no-ad scoring, based on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s recommendations for increasing pace of play. All conference matches will once again include an eight-game pro-set for the doubles point with a tiebreak at 7-7, and advantage scoring will be used. For men’s play, all doubles and singles matches will be played out unless agreed upon by both head coaches prior to the start of the match.

Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant