Jan. 24, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — From the outset of the season, the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis program has looked with relish on its schedule and the challenges it presents with nearly every new match.
Saturday didn’t disappoint the 14th-ranked Irish, who clawed for every point in a razor-thin 4-3 victory over No. 24 Oklahoma State in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. It was a win that grew closer as the match wore on, finally depending on a third-set tiebreaker in the last remaining singles match.
Cue Eric Schnurrenberger. The junior out of Zug, Switzerland, rallied from a 2-5 third-set deficit to Tristan Meraut to force a tiebreaker, with the advantage trading hands until it was 6-all. Schnurrenberger secured a break point before forcing a long return on the serve for match point and a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (8) win.
“It’s great; it’s always awesome (to win such a close match),” Schnurrenberger said. “The difference between winning and losing is so close in that moment, between being so happy and then on the other side so sad, and there’s a few points that decide that. I’m happy that this time it fell on our side.”
“Eric does things the right way,” head coach Ryan Sachire added. “He comes to practice every day with great focus. He comes to practice to work hard every day. When you put in the time consistently, in the biggest moments where you want it the most, you have that deep base of confidence. He, like a lot of other guys on our team, has that and allows him to play is best tennis in the biggest moments.”
The Irish battled in the opening doubles round, coming back from deficits on two courts to claim the doubles point. At No. 1 doubles, Alex Lawson and Billy Pecor won three straight games to take a 6-4 decision over No. 12 Jakob Sude and Arjun Kadhe. Quentin Monaghan and Eric Schnurrenberger clinched it for the Irish, earning their own 6-4 after leading all the way. Meanwhile, eighth-ranked Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi worked back from deficits of 3-1 and 4-3, nearly completing their own 6-4 victory had their match not gone unfinished with the Irish clincher.
Notre Dame added two quick wins in singles, with No. 82 Josh Hagar defeating No. 74 Arjun Kadhe, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 2 singles and Billy Pecor dropping Lukas Finzeuberg, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 5 singles. Leading 3-0, the Irish dropped their next three decisions, all in third sets, before the attention turned to Court 4.
“This is a team effort,” Sachire said. “Eric did a great job and he certainly did his part, but we had a lot of guys who contributed to this win and it’s a big team win for us.”
The Irish (2-0) advance to Sunday’s championship match with No. 16 Columbia (1-0), which defeated No. 17 Tennessee (4-1), 4-3. The Lions feature two ranked singles players, No. 22 Winston Lin and No. 124 Mike Vermeer, and a ranked doubles pair in No. 10 Max Schnur and Ashok Narayana. The Volunteers and Cowboys (3-1) will play a consolation match at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the championship at 1 p.m. ET at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
For live updates from Sunday’s action, be sure to follow @NDMensTennis on Twitter and like the Irish on Facebook. Live scoring will be available for each match at the links below. Live streaming will also be available on watchnd.tv.
Sunday’s Matches (Live Results)
Notre Dame 4, Oklahoma State 3
1. No. 98 Jakob Sude (OKST) def. No. 37 Quentin Monaghan (ND), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
2. No. 82 Josh Hagar (ND) def. No. 74 Arjun Kadhe (OKST), 6-4, 6-1
3. Lucas Gerch (OKST) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
4. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) def. Tristan Meraut (OKST), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6)
5. Billy Pecor (ND) def. Lukas Finzelberg (OKST), 6-2, 6-3
6. Nicolai Ferrigno (OKST) def. Alex Lawson (ND), 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5
3. Quentin Monaghan /Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) def. Tristan Meraut / Lucas Gerch (OKST), 6-4
By Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant