April 7, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will see its final home action of the year Friday when the Irish welcome top-ranked North Carolina to campus on Senior Day.
WHAT: Match 25
WHO: Notre Dame (12-12, 4-6 ACC) vs. No. 1 North Carolina (21-2, 6-2 ACC)
WHERE: Courtney Tennis Center or Eck Tennis Pavilion | Notre Dame, Ind.
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET, April 8 (7 p.m. ET if played indoors)
FOLLOW: | Live Stream
Below, find all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
Scouting North Carolina
The top-ranked Tar Heels remained at No. 1 this week despite falling to No. 6 Wake Forest in a 4-3 decision last Sunday. North Carolina won its first 15 matches of the season – including a 4-2 victory over then-No. 1 Virginia to capture the ITA National Indoor Team Championship in February – before dropping its first match to Florida State in early March. The Tar Heels are led in singles by No. 27 Ronnie Schneider (15-5 dual), No 29 Brayden Schnur (6-7), No. 50 Brett Clark (16-4), No. 80 Robert Kelly (19-2) and No. 107 Jack Murray (16-3). In doubles, they boast two top-20 duos: No. 1 Clark and Kelly (16-5) and No. 17 Schnur and Murray (9-3). The Irish are 8-13 against the Tar Heels in series history, but have not won against North Carolina since 2011.
Following Friday’s match, the Irish will honor their five seniors – Alex Lawson, Quentin Monaghan, Nicolas Montoya, Kenneth Sabacinski and Eric Schnurrenberger – in a ceremony celebrating their accomplishments at Notre Dame.
The Irish men’s and women’s tennis teams are scheduled to compete in simultaneous matches at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday at the Courtney Tennis Center. If current forecasts hold, those matches will move inside to the Eck Tennis Pavilion, with the women’s match taking priority. In that case, the Irish women will take on Clemson at the originally scheduled time, while the men’s match against North Carolina will take place at the conclusion of the women’s (approx. 7 p.m.).
With 89 career doubles wins, senior Alex Lawson has moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. His 89-52 (.631) 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, and has qualified for the past two NCAA Doubles Championships with former partners Andrews (’14) and Pecor (’15).
Individual Rankings Summary
Seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson ranked at No. 12 in the most recent national doubles rankings after the pair defeated No. 11 Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez of Florida State last week. Also entering the doubles rankings this week are juniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar at No. 79, who played together for the first time since January on Sunday and defeated Virginia Tech’s seventh-ranked duo of Joao Monteiro and Andreas Bjerrehus. In singles, Monaghan moved up two spots to No. 31.
Last Time Out
The Irish split four matches last weekend, falling in a 4-3 heartbreaker to No. 22 Florida State on Friday before losing 6-1 to Virginia Tech Sunday. The Irish returned to .500, however, with a pair of wins against Chicago State on Sunday evening, winning 6-1 and 5-1 over the Cougars.
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 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 degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.