May 28, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For all of the historical significance of Saturday’s NCAA Doubles Championship quarterfinal match for 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame senior duo Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan, very little drama made an appearance at the proceedings.
After all, the newly minted Irish All-Americans were playing to advance to the program’s first NCAA doubles semifinal since 1994. But the veteran pair were calm, not harried. Methodical, not rushed. Indeed, the Irish defeated their second seeded foe of the tournament, downing No. 9 (5-8 seed) Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat of California 6-3, 7-5, getting breaks where they needed them and holding strong on serve.
“We were really calm, but also extremely energetic,” Lawson said. “It makes no sense, but for us it makes too much sense. Our energy was really awesome out there today and I think it was exactly what we need.”
“I thought the most important thing was trusting each other and sticking with the process,” Monaghan added. “We really believe in each other and know that when we are playing the right way we can beat anyone in the country. At this stage in the tournament, every team is very good and there are going to be momentum shifts throughout the match, which makes it so important to stay level-headed and attack the process.”
It’s the way Lawson and Monaghan have played all season, with judicious patience and opportunism.
The Irish and Bears traded games to begin the match, but the Irish struck first to snare a break and take a 4-2 lead and held throughout the set’s remainder to win 6-3.
The second set proved more even as the teams held serve through the first 10 games, tying at 5-5 with Bergevi and Lakat on serve. It was here that the Irish pounced, breaking the Bear pair on deuce point to go up 6-5. They clinched on their next service to become just the second doubles team in program history to advance to the national semifinal since the team and individual championships were separated in 1977 (Andy Zurcher and Todd Wilson, 1994). Prior to 1977, three Notre Dame doubles pairs advanced as far as the national semifinal – Charles Samson and Jerry Evert (1944), Jerry and Jim Evert (1948) and Maxwell Brown and Bill Heinbecker (1959, national final).
“We are obviously playing really well and we are a very good team, and at this point in the tournament that’s a given,” Lawson said. “The difference maker for us is usually our energy and our competitiveness and today was a good example of that.”
The win was the 94th doubles victory of Lawson’s career, giving him sole possession of second place on the all-time program doubles win register. It was the 155th combined win (singles and doubles) of Monaghan’s career, good for 14th place all time.
The Irish will advance to play No. 2 Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki of UCLA at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.
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. 15 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) vs. No. 2 Mackenzie McDonald / Martin Redlicki (UCLA) OR No. 10 Julian Cash / Arjun Kadhe (OKST), Time TBD
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.