Feb. 22, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the second time in eight days, the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team went up against the No. 1 team in the country. Last week, it was the Virginia Cavaliers. Today, the Irish fell to No. 1 Ohio State in a heartbreakingly close match, 4-2.
“I give Ohio State all the credit,” said head coach Ryan Sachire. “I mean, we backed them into a corner, and they withstood our best shot. They’re a great team and they did a great job today. Our guys tried so hard and battled so hard. I don’t know if we played our best match of the season, I thought we were a little too hyped up in certain spots, but that’s tennis. Ohio State did an amazing job of taking our best punch and still being victorious.”
Before an incredible crowd–488 was the official attendance in the Eck Tennis Pavilion–Notre Dame set a strong tone early by taking the doubles point. All three matches came down to the wire. Senior Ryan Bandy and sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger, despite falling behind 5-2, came back to win their match against Ralf Steinbach and Chris Diaz, 7-5. Sophomore Alex Lawson and senior Greg Andrews fell to the No. 2 doubles team in the country, Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka, 9-7. The point came down to the match on court two, where senior Billy Pecor and freshman Josh Hagar clinched it for the Irish, beating Herkko Pollanen and Hunter Callahan, 8-6.
Things were looking good for the Irish at the start of singles, as Bandy was off the court with a quick 6-3, 6-3 victory over Steinbach at No. 4. Andrews won his first set in a tight tiebreaker against Kobelt, and Monaghan was up in his first set. But then a couple of lost tiebreakers sent the Irish spiraling.
Schnurrenberger lost at No. 6 to Callahan, 6-4, 6-4, and Monaghan fell in straight sets as well despite being up early. He lost to Diaz at No. 2, 7-6, 6-4.
Freshman Eddy Covalschi lost his first set but battled back to win his second and get the third to a tiebreaker. He then fell to Kevin Metka, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6.
The match was clinched for Ohio State by Kobelt, who battled back to beat Andrews at No. 1, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6. Every set of their match went to a tiebreaker. Hagar’s match at No. 3 was then abandoned.
Notre Dame will rally in a matter of hours to take on Ball State. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3 for USTA’s College MatchDay.
–Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant