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Irish Tame Tigers In 6-1 Senior Night Victory

April 21, 2017

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By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team stopped its three-match losing streak and picked up a convincing Atlantic Coast Conference victory on the night it honored its seniors Friday, defeating Clemson 6-1 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Following the match, the team honored seniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar in a Senior Day celebration. The pair are playing in their final home matches this weekend.

How It Happened

The Irish (13-11, 4-7 ACC) won the doubles point, taking the final two decisions after Clemson (8-15, 1-10 ACC) won the first match on Court 3. After the Tigers took the advantage, sophomore Alex Lebedev and freshman Matt Gamble defeated Brent Lett and Christian Harris 6-3 on Court 2, and junior Brendon Kempin and sophomore Grayson Broadus brought the point home with a 6-4 win over No. 39 Daffra Sanon and Sam Edwards on Court 1.

The Irish continued to roll in singles. Freshman Guillermo Cabrera gave the Irish a quick 2-0 lead with a speedy 6-1, 6-1 win over Lett at the No. 5 spot, while senior Josh Hagar followed closely with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Alex Favrot at No 1. Freshman Johnathan Small clinched the victory at 4-0 with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Reed Rabideau at the No. 6 position.

On Court 3, senior Eddy Covalschi pushed the lead to 5-0 with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Robert Dudley, coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the second set to take it in two. Gamble stretched it out even more, battling for a 3-6, 7-6(5), 11-9 victory over Sam Edwards on Court 4.

Clemson only got on the board in the last match as Daffra Sanon defeated Lebedev in a tight 7-6(5), 7-6(5) decision on Court 2.

Coach Ryan Sachire Says

On getting off to a quick startââ’¬¦
“It was great to get off to a good start and win the doubles point. With Josh being a little limited today (sitting out doubles), we had to make a little bit of a change in our lineup and Grayson and Brendon really elevated where they’ve been playing in the lineup (getting the start at No. 1). I’m really super proud of them to beat a ranked opponent and get the clinching win for us.

“In singles, Guillermo, Josh and Eddy getting off to the starts they got off to I think really set the tone for our guys and allowed the guys who were maybe a little sluggish out of the gate to get their legs and not panic because it looked like the team match was still going smoothly. They were able to work into the match and Matt, for instance, was able to turn his match around. And the two seniors did a good job on senior day of racing out to a lead in singles and putting us on the board in a good position.”

On getting the win after a tough three-loss stretchââ’¬¦
“Our guys are resilient. I was proud of the effort. We’ve played so many 4-3 matches and close matches, and coming off of three losses in a row, you question if your team has a great level of confidence to start matches and I think our guys have been resilient. They know they’re playing against good competition; they know that there’s no other option but to come out strong. Clemson’s a good team and we’re happy with the win and excited to move on to Wake Forest (on Sunday).”

On the senior classââ’¬¦
“It’s rare for freshman to come in and contribute from Day 1. Josh was contributing in both singles and doubles and Eddy was a starter in singles as a freshman and he’s turned into one of the best doubles players in the history of our program. The quantity of matches that they’ve played and won, and big matches in our program over the last four years, is remarkable. They’ve certainly left a legacy and they’ve left their names in the record books for some accomplishments. We’re excited to be able to recognize them today, but I think we all know that we’ve got a lot more work to do and we’re excited to continue to play for a lot longer this season.”

Up Next

The Irish will play their final match of the regular season at noon ET Sunday against No. 1 Wake Forest at the Courtney Tennis Center.


Notre Dame 6, Clemson 1
April 21, 2017
Eck Tennis Pavilion
Notre Dame, Ind.
1. No. 67 Josh Hagar (ND) def. Alex Favrot (CU) 6-1, 6-2
2. Daffra Sanon (CU) def. Alex Lebedev (ND) 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
3. Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Robert Dudley (CU) 6-1, 6-4
4. Matt Gamble (ND) def. Sam Edwards (CU) 3-6, 7-6(5), 11-9
5. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) def. Brent Lett (CU) 6-1, 6-1
6. Johnathan Small (ND) def. Reed Rabideau (CU) 6-2, 6-4
1. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) def. No. 39 Daffra Sanon / Sam Edwards (CU) 6-4
2. Matt Gamble / Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Brent Lett / Christian Harris (CU) 6-3
3. Alex Favrot / Robert Dudley (CU) def. Eddy Covalschi / Johnathan Small (ND) 6-1

— ND —

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.