March 16, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team hopes to stop a hot Texas Tech squad when the teams meet at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
In a rare mid-week contest, the No. 36 Irish (8-5) will look to stop a 34th-ranked Red Raiders team that has won three straight matches, including wins over No. 30 Indiana and No. 31 San Diego. Notre Dame will face at least one ranked doubles squad in either No. 24 Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares or No. 54 Soares and Connor Curry. Soares also ranks 43rd in the singles rankings, while Jolan Cailleau ranks 109th.
The Irish will get a quick turnaround after picking up two wins in a doubleheader on Sunday. A 7-0 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Boston College and a 6-1 decision over Detroit stopped four-match skid for the Irish, who look to keep the winning streak alive with a quality win over the Raiders. After a Spring Break spent training in Arizona, the Irish believe they’re in a good spot to continue building momentum.
“I think we’re confident,” sophomore Josh Hagar said. “We had a little bit of a break in the season and addressed some things we needed to work on and I think we’re really going to build on (wins over Boston College and Detroit) and we’re feeling good.”
“They play with a lot of energy; we play with a lot of energy and it will be really fun,” head coach Ryan Sachire added. “It’s going to be really competitive, similar to what we had earlier in the year with some other teams and we know that. It’ll be a great match.”
WRANGLING THE RED RAIDERS: Texas Tech enters the match on a three-match winning streak, including wins over No. 30 Indiana and No. 31 San Diego. The Red Raiders have two singles players in the ITA top 125 and two doubles duos in the top 60 (as of March 10). The Irish are 1-2 all time against the Red Raiders, with all matches ending in 4-0 decisions. Notre Dame won the first meeting in 2009, while Texas Tech took the next two in 2010 and 2011.
IRISH AT HOME: Notre Dame is 6-2 at home this season, with close losses only to then No. 16 Columbia and No. 3 Illinois. They will look to push their home winning streak to three on St. Patrick’s Day against the Red Raiders. Interestingly, the Irish have played just four matches at home on the holiday in 22 all-time St. Paddy’s Day contests. They are 3-1 in those matches.
RANKINGS UPDATE: In the latest ITA team poll the Irish slipped from No. 23 to No. 36 after losses at then-No. 44 Virginia Tech and No. 33 Louisville. After defeating the Irish 4-3 on March 6, the Hokies went on to upset No. 2 Duke, 6-1.
A SINGULAR PERFORMER: In the latest ITA singles poll (March 10), junior Quentin Monaghan jumped two spots to No. 22. Monaghan won seven straight matches at No. 1 singles from Jan. 31 to March 8, when he fell to current No. 1 Seb Steifelmeyer of Louisville, and has won nine of his last 10. Monaghan is now 10-2 in dual matches this season, and 19-5 overall.
DOUBLES DOMINANCE: Doubles partners Billy Pecor and Alex Lawson make up the only ACC duo to be ranked in the ITA top 10 at No. 8. With Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar at No. 14, the Irish are the only team in the country with two doubles pairs in the ITA top 20. Covalschi and Hagar jumped five spots in this week’s poll after posting a 2-1 record at No. 1 doubles in the last two weeks, including a victory over No. 14 Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski of Illinois. They pushed their record to 3-1 in the No. 1 spot on Sunday with a win over Kyle Childree and Hank Workman of Boston College.
SCORING FORMAT CHANGE: The Atlantic Coast Conference has moved to re-implement the regular scoring format utilized in 2014. Earlier this season, matches were played with no-ad scoring, based on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s recommendations for increasing pace of play. All conference matches will once again include an eight-game pro-set for the doubles point with a tiebreak at 7-7, and advantage scoring will be used. For men’s play, all doubles and singles matches will be played out unless agreed upon by both head coaches prior to the start of the match.
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant