Feb. 5, 2016
By Joanne Norell
URBANA, Ill. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team dropped its fourth straight match Friday, falling 5-2 to No. 12 Illinois to close out a four-match road stint.
The Irish fell to Illinois for the second time this season, having suffered a 4-0 setback to the Illini in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on January 22.
The Irish premiered three new doubles pairs, but the shake-up was not enough for Notre Dame to take the point to start the match. Senior Alex Lawson and junior Eddy Covalschi gave the Irish an early lead with a 6-1 win over Jared Hiltzik and Alex Jesse, but the Illini prevailed on Courts 2 and 3 to take an early lead. Aleks Vukic and Aron Hiltzik defeated senior Quentin Monaghan and freshman Grayson Broadus 6-2 at the No. 2 slot, and Julian Childers and Aidan Jiang defeated junior Josh Hagar and sophomore Brendon Kempin 6-3 at No. 3.
The Illini got two more quick points with singles wins on Courts 1 and 2. The undefeated Vukic upended No. 36 Monaghan 6-0. 6-0 on Court 1, followed by No. 21 Jared Hiltzik’s 6-1, 6-4 win over Lawson on Court 2 to give Illinois a 3-0 lead.
Hagar gave the Irish a point back with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Jesse on Court 5, but two more quick Illini wins followed. No. T-41 Aron Hiltzik beat Covalschi 6-4, 6-2 at No. 3 and No. 67 Childers defeated senior Eric Schnurrenberger 6-4, 6-3.
With the outcome already decided, Broadus gave the Irish a gritty win on Court 6, forcing a third set tiebreaker against Ashier Hirsh and pulling out of an 8-3 hole in the final frame to win 6-3, 7-6, 10-8.
The Irish return to the court Sunday for a doubleheader at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame will welcome No. 53 Indiana at noon ET, followed by Ball State at 5:30 p.m. ET.
No. 12 Illinois 5, No. 36 Notre Dame 2
1. Aleks Vukic (UI) def. No. 36 Quentin Monaghan (ND) 6-0, 6-0
2. No. 21 Jared Hiltzik (UI) def. Alex Lawson (ND) 6-1, 6-4
3. No. T-41 Aron Hiltzik (UI) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND) 6-4, 6-2
4. No. 67 Julian Childers (UI) def. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) 6-4, 6-3
5. Josh Hagar (ND) def. Alex Jesse (UI) 6-2, 6-1
6. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Asher Hirsh (UI) 3-6, 7-6, 10-8
1. Eddy Covalschi / Alex Lawson (ND) def. Jared Hiltzik / Alex Jesse (UI) 6-1
2. Aleks Vukic / Aron Hiltzik (UI) def. Grayson Broadus / Quentin Monaghan (ND) 6-2
3. Julian Childers / Aidan Jiang (UI) def. Josh Hagar / Brendon Kempin (ND) 6-3
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.