May 24, 2016
By Joanne Norell
TULSA, Okla. — For the second time in three years, the ITA National Men’s Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership Award winner is a University of Notre Dame men’s tennis captain.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association named recent Irish graduate Quentin Monaghan the 2016 recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award at its awards banquet on Tuesday at the site of this year’s NCAA Championships. The award is given annually to men’s and women’s players across all divisions who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. In 2014, former Irish captain Greg Andrews earned the honor.
“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” Monaghan said. “A recognition for both leadership and sportsmanship is not only a testament to my coaches and teammates, but to the lessons and values instilled upon me by Notre Dame. I cannot thank my teammates enough. I care so much about each and every one of them and it was an honor to be their captain the last two years.”
The Chatham, New Jersey, native has been a cornerstone of the Irish men’s tennis program over the course of his career. Highlighting his many accomplishments:
- 18th All-American in program history
- 2015 NCAA Singles Championship semifinalist
- Four-time all-conference (BIG EAST and ACC)
- Three-time all-conference academic team (2016 not yet announced)
- Two-year captain
This season, Monaghan was a fixture as one of the top seeds during the fall’s collegiate grand slam circuit. He kicked off the year with an invitation to the American Collegiate Invitational, held during the second week of the US Open. He earned the top seed at the ITA All-American Championships in October, the first Irish player to earn the distinction since current Callaghan Family Head Men’s Tennis Coach Ryan Sachire did so in 1999. Later, he went on to win the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles Championship with partner Alex Lawson and advance to the semifinals at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Doubles Championship.
During the spring, Monaghan maintained his position atop the Irish singles lineup and made his first career appearance in the Oracle/ITA Men’s National Doubles Rankings, where he and Lawson have remained in the top 15 throughout the entire season. He put together a 12-10 dual singles record, with top-30 wins over North Carolina’s Brayden Schnur (then-No. 29), Virginia’s Ryan Shane (No. 8), Miami’s Piotr Lomacki (No. 28), Duke’s Nicolas Alvarez (No. 20) and Indiana’s Sam Monette (No. 27). In doubles, Monaghan and Lawson went 13-6 on the year, with a 5-4 mark in dual matches.
Monaghan, who was named the Midwest regional winner of the award on May 9, beat out a Who’s Who of collegiate tennis players to take home the nation’s top honor. Among other national finalists were defending NCAA singles champion Shane of Virginia, Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA (top five singles ranking last two seasons), Julian Lenz of Baylor (perennial top five singles and doubles player), and Benjamin Lock of Florida State (top 10 singles and doubles ranking).
“To be recognized nationally amidst such outstanding candidates is very humbling,” Monaghan said. “I have so much respect for them and am thankful to have been considered among them.”
Monaghan will close out his Irish career this week when he competes during the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first round of the single championship begins at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, with the doubles championship kicking off Thursday.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
WHAT: NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship
WHO: Seniors Quentin Monaghan (singles/doubles) and Alex Lawson (doubles)
WHERE: Case Tennis Center | Tulsa, Oklahoma
WHEN: May 25-30
FOLLOW: Championship Central | Stream/Stats
Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson are no strangers to the NCAA spotlight. When the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships begin Wednesday, Monaghan will be making his second appearance, while Lawson makes his third. Last season, Monaghan became the first Irish player to advance to the national singles semifinal since the team and individual tournaments were separated in 1977, finishing the year ranked No. 7 in the country. Lawson participated in the doubles championship in each of the last two seasons, with Greg Andrews in 2014 and Billy Pecor in 2015. Last season, Lawson and Pecor became the first Irish doubles duo to advance to the Round of 16 since 1998.
The NCAA individual championships will be played as best-of-three sets for both singles and doubles. No-ad scoring will be used and a seven-point tiebreaker will be played at six-games-all. The singles championship will be a 64-player tournament beginning at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday and culminating in the NCAA title match on Monday, May 30. The 32-team doubles tournament will begin at 10 a.m. ET Thursday. The brackets have not yet been released.
With 91 career doubles wins, senior Alex Lawson has moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. His 91-54 (.628) record puts him just behind Jakub Pietrowski (95-45) and Greg Andrews (93-50) and just ahead of Billy Pecor (88-45) on the career register. Lawson has been ranked within the top 10 in doubles in parts of each of the last three seasons, has qualified for the past two NCAA Doubles Championships with former partners Andrews (’14) and Pecor (’15), and will compete at this season’s tournament with current partner Quentin Monaghan.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its regional awards on Monday, May 9, with seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson taking home hardware. Monaghan earned the Midwest Regional ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, while Lawson was named the region’s Most Improved Player, which is given to a senior each season.
Heading into the NCAA Championships, Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson rank 15th in the nation in the most recent Oracle/ITA Men’s National Doubles Poll, while Monaghan comes in ranked No. 35 in singles.
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.