May 22, 2015
WACO, Texas — It was a bittersweet day for the University of Notre Dame’s men’s tennis program on Friday at the NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships, as the Irish saw its singles representative advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals while its doubles pairing fell in a tightly contested match at the Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor University.
Junior Quentin Monaghan continued his strong play at the in the singles tournament, looking every bit the top 10 player his No. 9 ranking would suggest in a 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 32 Jakob Sude in the Round of 16. In the doubles tournament, 15th-ranked senior Billy Pecor and junior Alex Lawson fell in a three-set, down-to-the-wire match with No. 14 Boris Arias and Jordan Daigle of LSU, 6-7(3), 7-6(6), 7-5.
In a match three times interrupted by light rain, Monaghan methodically mixed a strong service game with timely returns to attack Sude from the outset. The Irish junior started the match with a break and took a 3-0 lead before trading back and forth with Sude en route to a 6-2 first-set advantage.
The pair traded service games to start the second before Monaghan scored a break to make it 3-2 before the rain came. Light showers suspended play for roughly 15 minutes before the players took the courts again for a short warm-up, but another shower halted play for an additional 20 minutes before they could resume.
Upon returning, Monaghan held and snagged another break to go up 5-2, then went on serve before another stint of rain caused a delay at 15-all. After another 20 minute break, Sude managed to get a break and then held to pull within 5-4, but Monaghan put an end to things with an ace on the advantage to punch his ticket to the quarterfinals.
“I thought I played a pretty tough match,” Monaghan said. “I served pretty well, competed pretty well and didn’t give him much. I was able to sort of play aggressive when I needed to. He likes to get in a lot, so I kind of had to push him back and I did that pretty well.”
Monaghan saidÂ his confidence has grown as he’s progressed through the tournament.
“I think I’m as confident as ever,” he said. “Going into the tournament it’s hard to have too many expectations for yourself as everyone is really good and you don’t know how the draw will shape out. I’ve really focused on what’s in front of me and taken care of that. I’m very confident that when I give my best effort and compete at the highest level, I will be a tough out and have the capability of beating pretty much everyone here.”
Monaghan became the first Irish singles player to make the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championship since Sheeva Parbhu did so in 2006. He will face No. 39 Cameron Norrie of TCU at 1 p.m. EDT on Saturday.Â
It was another epic battle for Pecor and Lawson in the second round of the doubles tournament. After winning two sets in tiebreakers against Ohio State on Thursday to advance to the Round of 16, the Irish pair encountered a similar test against Arias and Daigle.
The first set was a seamless continuation from Friday’s match as neither team was able to secure a break before heading to the tiebreak. The Irish sprang ahead 4-1 before the Tigers could tack on a couple more points, but Pecor and Lawson clamped down to win the first set 7-6(3).
LSU broke Pecor and Lawson for the first time in the tournament early in the second set to take a 2-1 lead, but the Irish managed to return the favor immediately and held the rest of the way. Leading 6-5 late in the set, the Irish had the Tigers at break point, which would have sealed the match, but Arias and Daigle climbed out of a 15-40 hole to force the breaker. Pecor and Lawson took a 4-0 lead, but the LSU tandem roared back to tie it at 4, then 6, before stealing the set 7-6(6) and forcing a third stanza.
This time it was Notre Dame’s turn to snag an early break and the Irish went up 4-2 before LSU broke back and held to take a 5-4 lead. The Tigers then had the Irish at break point three times, but with Lawson serving, the Irish erased a 15-40 deficit to tie things at 5-all. But LSU held next and then completed break point to take the match and advance to the quarterfinal.
Pecor and Lawson ended the season with a 25-9 overall record.
NCAA Men’s DI Singles Championship
May 20-25, 2015
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 33 Farris Gosea (ILL), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 25 Roberto Quiroz (USC), 6-4, 6-4
Round of 16
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 32 Jakob Sude (OKST), 6-2, 6-4
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) vs. No. 39 Cameron Norrie (TCU), 1 p.m. EDT
NCAA Men’s DI Doubles Championship
May 21-25, 2015
No. 15 Billy Pecor / Alex Lawson (ND) def. No. 7 Ralf Steinbach / Kevin Metka (OSU), 7-6(3), 7-6(1)
Round of 16
No. 14 Boris Arias / Jordan Daigle (LSU) def. No. 15 Billy Pecor / Alex Lawson (ND), 6-7(3), 7-6(6), 7-5
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant