March 2, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will face the nation’s top-ranked team for the second time this calendar year on Friday when the Irish travel to Ohio State to take on the No. 1 Buckeyes.
On The Buckeyes
- The Buckeyes moved into the top spot in the Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s Tennis Rankings this week, leapfrogging Virginia after defeating No. 10 Florida last week. Ohio State owns a 6-1 record against teams ranked teams so far this season.
- In each of Ohio State’s seven matches against ranked opponents, its opponent has been ranked in the top 15. The Buckeyes own wins over No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 10 Florida, No. 10 Georgia, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Oklahoma and No. 15 Kentucky (all rankings at time of match). Their only loss came against then-No. 1 Virginia in the final of the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
- Ohio State boasts the country’s No. 1 and No. 3 singles players with Mikael Torpegaard (19-2 overall, 12-0 dual) and Hugo Di Feo (15-3, 9-1), respectively. Also ranked for the Buckeyes are No. 56 Herkko Pollanen (14-5, 6-3) and No. 88 Martin Joyce (9-5, 5-2). Torpegaard and Pollanen (9-4, 8-3) are ranked 20th in doubles and Di Feo and Joyce (9-3, 5-1) come in at No. 56.
Last Time Out
The Irish hosted No. 13 Northwestern on Friday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion and pulled off a 4-1 victory for their biggest win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 1 North Carolina last season (April 8, 2016). The Irish won the doubles point, clinched by seniors Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi at No. 1. In singles, freshman Matt Gamble picked up a victory on Court 5, followed by classmate Guillermo Cabrera on Court 6 before the Wildcats got on the board with a point on Court 3. It was Hagar who closed the door, however, coming back for a three-set victory over No. 28 Strong Kirchheimer, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
ACC Weekly Honors
For his efforts against the Wildcats, Hagar was named the ACC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week. It was the first weekly honor of Hagar’s career. The senior from Austin, Texas, was an All-ACC Third Team and Academic Team pick in 2016.
On The Horizon
Senior Josh Hagar is one singles wins away from reaching 70 in his career, while classmate Eddy Covalschi needs four to reach his 60th career singles win. The Irish are three wins away from reaching the 1,200th dual win in program history.
Notre Dame entered the Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s Tennis rankings this week following its win over Northwestern. The Irish debut at No. 29 in the 50-team poll.
The Irish also boast two players in the individual rankings. Seniors Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi remained ranked No. 6 in the most recent Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s Tennis doubles rankings, having gone 17-4 on the season, including 7-1 in dual play this spring. Hagar ranks 44th nationally in singles.
Keeping Up With The Irish
All indoor home matches will be streamed live on WatchND. Live scoring will be available for all home tennis matches at UND.com, with links for each match available on the men’s tennis schedule page. Live match updates will also be shared on the team’s Twitter account, @NDMensTennis.
For the latest on all things Irish men’s tennis, follow @NDMensTennis on Twitter and like Notre Dame Men’s Tennis on Facebook.
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.