Jan. 16, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team kicked off the season with a statement on Saturday, sweeping to a pair of wins against Michigan State and Detroit in a season-opening doubleheader at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The No. 37 Irish dominated Michigan State 6-1 in the day’s opening match, while a younger Irish lineup upended Detroit 7-0 to close out play in the opening weekend.
“It was a really great start to the season,” said Irish junior Josh Hagar, who won matches in both singles and doubles against the Spartans. “It’s always nerve-wracking to play your first couple of matches, but it was nice to have a doubleheader to give everybody a chance to play. … I think we all played pretty well.”
The Irish snagged the doubles point against the Spartans (0-1), as the No. 2 and No. 3 duos cruised to quick victories, made even quicker with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s adoption of no-ad scoring and six-game doubles sets. Junior pair Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar downed John Patrick Mullane and Ivan Rakic 6-1, while sophomore Brendon Kempin and Eric Schnurrenberger handily defeated Colin Harvey and Alexander Kim, 6-2.
The Irish continued to dominate as singles commenced, with the Irish claiming five of six first-set wins. Schnurrenberger put the Irish up 2-0 with a breezy 6-3, 6-2 win over Jasper Koenen, while Hagar blew past Billy Shisler in the second set en route to a 6-4, 6-0 win. Lawson clinched the win for the Irish, defeated Dube 6-3, 6-3, and senior Kenneth Sabacinski added to the Irish win total with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Rakic.
In a much closer match at No. 1 singles, Monaghan fought for a gritty 6-4, 6-4 win over Mullane, surviving a break in the first set to sweep the Spartans’ top starter.
The lone loss of the match for the Irish came on Court 2, as Eddy Covalschi fell to Mac Roy in three close sets, 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-6.
Notre Dame got a look at its younger contingent in the nightcap against Detroit as head coach Ryan Sachire started three freshmen, two sophomores and a senior in doubles.
Freshman Nathan Griffin and senior Nicolas Montoya gave the Irish the first doubles win, defeated Rafael Orantes and Ismail Kadyrov 6-2 at the No. 2 slot. The Titans got one back with a win over freshman Daniel Rayl and sophomore Drew Dawson on Court 3, but freshman Grayson Broadus and sophomore Brendon Kempin closed the door on Patryk Koscielski and Nathan Ponton 6-4 atop the doubles lineup.
Montoya gave the Irish a 2-0 lead with a quick 6-0, 6-0 win over Adam Zychowicz at the No. 6 slot, while Rayl made quick work of Nicholas Solarewicz in a 6-0, 6-3 victory on Court 5. Sabacinski notched his second singles win of the day next to clinch the match for Notre Dame, defeated Orantes 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 3 spot.
Broadus added to the Irish lead with an emphatic 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ponton on Court 2, while Covalschi evened his singles record on the day with a 7-6(8), 6-3 victory against Koscielski at the top slot. Kempin finished the day with a come-from-behind 4-6, 7-6(4), 10-2 victory over Kacper Stelmaszak to seal the 7-0 win for Notre Dame.
The Irish next head to Champaign, Illinois for the ITA Kickoff Weekend next Friday and Saturday. Notre Dame will meet the sixth-ranked Illini in the tournament’s first match at 6 p.m. ET on Friday at the Atkins Tennis Center.
“Next weekend’s going to be huge for us,” Hagar said. “We’re going to be playing in a region where there are four great teams. Playing Illinois on Friday is going to be a great test and getting two wins today sets us up to have a good opportunity next weekend.”
No. 37 Notre Dame 6, Michigan State 1
1. No. 36 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. John Patrick Mullane (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Mac Roy (MSU) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND) 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-6
3. Alex Lawson (ND) def. Michael Dube (MSU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Josh Hagar (ND) def. Billy Shisler (MSU) 6-4, 6-0
5. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) def. Jasper Koenen (MSU) 6-3, 6-2
6. Kenneth Sabacinski (ND) def. Ivan Rakic (MSU) 6-2, 6-3
1. No. 6 Alex Lawson / Quentin Monaghan (ND) vs. Michael Dube / Mac Roy (MSU) 5-4 unfinished
2. Eddy Covalschi / Josh Hagar (ND) def. John Patrick Mullane / Ivan Rakic (MSU) 6-1
3. Brendon Kempin / Eric Schnurrenenberger (ND) def. Colin Harvey / Alexander Kim (MSU) 6-2
No. 37 Notre Dame 7, Detroit 0
1. Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Patryk Koscielski (DET), 7-6(8), 6-3
2. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Nathan Ponton (DET) 6-1, 6-3
3. Kenneth Sabacinski (ND) def. Rafael Orantes (DET) 6-2, 6-2
4. Brendon Kempin (ND) def. Kacper Stelmaszak (DET), 4-6, 7-6(4), 10-2
5. Daniel Rayl (ND) def. Nicholas Solarewicz (DET) 6-0, 6-3
6. Nicolas Montoya (ND) def. Adam Zychowicz (DET) 6-0, 6-0
1. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) def. Patryk Koscielski / Nathan Ponton (DET) 6-4
2. Nathan Griffin / Nicolas Montoya (ND) def. Rafael Orantes / Ismail Kadyrov (DET) 6-2
3. Chance Conley / Griffin Mertz (DET) def. Drew Dawson / Daniel Rayl (ND) 6-4
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.