March 2, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 41 University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will open Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend as it travels to Boston College on Thursday before returning home to welcome Louisville to the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Sunday.
WHAT: Matches 13 & 14
WHO: No. 41 Notre Dame (6-6) @ Boston College (3-4) | No. 41 Notre Dame vs. Louisville (6-5)
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. ET, March 3 | Noon ET, March 6
WHERE: Flynn Recreation Complex (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) | Eck Tennis Pavilion (Notre Dame, Ind.)
FOLLOW: | Live Stream
Below, find all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
Scouting Boston College
The Eagles have won just three matches this season, against Monmouth, Hartford and UConn. Alexandre Thirouin and Will Turner boast the best singles records for Boston College at 4-2, while Hank Workman is 3-3 atop the lineup. In doubles, the No. 3 pair of Jeffrey Melvin and Kent Mukai are 6-1, while Aidan McNulty and Thirouin are 5-2. Notre Dame is 5-0 in the all-time series against BC, including 2-0 under head coach Ryan Sachire.
The Cardinals have not played since February 14, but are riding a three-match win streak into the weekend, having recorded victories over Butler, Valparaiso and Michigan State. Before heading north to face the Irish, Louisville will host Murray State and No. 2 Virginia on Friday, opening the conference slate. George Hedley is a perfect 4-0 in dual play for the Cardinals, while Courtney Lock is 5-3, Brandon Lancaster is 4-3 and Jeffrey Brown is 3-3. In doubles, Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff and Hedley are 3-0, while Lock and Sean Donohue are 4-1. Notre Dame holds an 11-9 edge in the all-time series against Louisville, but are 0-1 under Sachire.
With 86 career doubles wins, senior Alex Lawson has moved into fourth place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. His 86-47 (.647) puts him just behind Jakub Pietrowski (95-45), Greg Andrews (93-50) and Billy Pecor (88-45) on the career register. Lawson has been ranked within the top 10 in doubles in each of the last three seasons, including his current No. 9 ranking with partner Quentin Monaghan, and has qualified for the past two NCAA Doubles Championships with former partners Andrews (’14) and Pecor (’15).
The Irish rose 6 spots in last week’s Oracle/ITA Men’s Team Rankings (March 1), coming in at No. 41. Seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson ranked at No. 9 in the most recent national doubles rankings (Feb. 23) – though the pair has not played together since January 29 – while Monaghan rose from No. 51 to No. 40 in the singles poll.
Last Time Out
The Irish hung with then-No. 3 Ohio State last Sunday before ultimately falling in a 5-2 decision at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame snared the doubles point as senior Quentin Monaghan and freshman Grayson Broadus defeated No. 13 Ralf Steinbach and Martin Joyce at No. 2, while junior Josh Hagar and senior Eric Schnurrenberger upended Hugo Di Feo and Chris Diaz at No. 3. In singles, three Irish players went into three sets, but the only win came on Court 3 as senior Alex Lawson came back to defeat No. 32 Diaz 0-6, 6-2, 6-2.
ITA Rules Changes
This season, the NCAA with the support of the ITA, will utilize a no-ad scoring format for the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis championships. If a game reaches deuce, the next point will win the game. Additionally, eight-game pro-sets will no longer be utilized in doubles matches, with teams playing one set to six, with a tiebreak at six-all. At the individual doubles championships, matches will consist of the best-of-three sets, with a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. The rules changes are designed to improve the pace of play in championship matches.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.