May 29, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The historical implications of University of Notre Dame men’s tennis seniors Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan’s run through the NCAA Doubles Championship will take a while to sink in.
The sting of the end of that run remains fresh, as the 15th-ranked Irish duo fell to No. 2 UCLA pair Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki late Sunday in yet another dramatic and entertaining match, 7-5, 6-7(5), 10-8 in the semifinal at the Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa.
Sometime soon, that sting will give way to the pride and appreciation that comes with a legacy built on hard work, and the knowledge that success follows.
Sunday, the Irish didn’t lack for effort.
The Bruins got the first break to go up 2-1 in the first set, but the Irish answered in kind to make it 2-2, and the teams held through the next several games until UCLA snared a second break to go up 6-5. McDonald and Redlicki held on the next service to take the set.
UCLA again picked up the first break in the second, setting a grim scene for the Irish when the Bruins took a 4-2, then 5-3, lead. But Lawson and Monaghan picked up a critical break on deuce point to tie the set at 5-all, then exchanged holds to force the tiebreaker.
The Bruins went ahead 4-2 in the breaker, but the Irish picked up the next four points after the changeover to lead 6-4. UCLA grabbed the next point to pull within one, but the Irish closed out the set on the next serve to force a decisive third.
The teams traded the first six points of the first-to-10 third set, tying 3-3 at the first changeover. After switching courts, the Irish picked up four of the next six to take a 7-5 lead. The Irish went up 8-6 after the next change, but the Bruins captured the final four points to clinch the victory.
It marked the end of a run an Irish doubles team hasn’t made since 1994, when Andy Zurcher and Todd Wilson also advanced to the NCAA doubles semifinal. In the program’s 93-year history, just five doubles teams have played in national semifinals under both the old and new formats.
Monaghan closed out his singles career as one of the most accomplished players in program history. A singles All-American in 2015, he was the first Irish player to advance to the NCAA singles semifinal since the team and individual tournaments were separated in 1977. His 101 career singles wins puts him in a three-way tie for 10th place on the all-time Irish singles wins list, while he sits in a tie for No. 14 on the all-time scrolls with 155 combined singles and doubles wins. Of the program’s 12 100-singles-match winners, Monaghan ranks seventh in winning percentage.
His doubles All-America scroll this season makes him the sixth multi-time All-American in program history.
In recognition of his on-court achievements, Monaghan was a four-time all-conference selection, including the 2013 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and a two-time ACC first-teamer. He was a three-time NCAA qualifier (singles 2015-16, doubles 2016) and had the third-highest finish by ranking in program history in 2015 after finishing at No. 7. He was a two-time Irish captain, three-time academic all-conference (2016 has not yet been released), dean’s list honoree and, this season, was a recipient of the National ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and Notre Dame’s own Byron V. Kanaley Award.
After three trips to the NCAA Doubles Championship, Lawson became the 19th distinct All-American in program history. He won 94 doubles matches in his career, second-best in the Irish annals, and was consistently ranked within the top 20 of the ITA doubles polls over the past three seasons with three different partners (Greg Andrews, Billy Pecor and Monaghan).
A captain as a junior, Lawson has won a number of team awards, including the Raymond T. Bender Award the last three seasons, given to a member of the team with the most enthusiasm. On the court, he has been a fixture on the collegiate grand slam circuit and, this season, captured the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles Championship and advanced to the semifinal of the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Doubles Championship, both with Monaghan. Following the regular season, he was named the ITA Midwest Region’s Most Improved Player.
2016 NCAA Singles & Doubles Championship
Case Tennis Center
Round of 64
No. 35 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 57 Strong Kirchheimer (NU) 6-4, 6-0
Round of 32
No. 6 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) def. No. 35 Quentin Monaghan (ND) 6-4, 6-1
Round of 32
No. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 5 Korey Lovett / Mazen Osama (ALA) 6-4, 6-3
Round of 16
No. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 18 Chin-Shan Jao / Dominik Koepfer (Tulane) 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 10-8
No. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 9 Filip Bergevi / Florian Lakat (CAL), 6-3, 7-5
No. 2 Mackenzie McDonald / Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. No. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) 7-5, 6-7(5), 10-8
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.