Jan. 25, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. — It was an exciting day for the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team–the 29th-ranked Irish took down the eighth-ranked Kentucky in the second day of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. It all came down to the third set of the seventh match, but Notre Dame upset the Wildcats 4-3.
“Obviously this is a great weekend for our team and our program,” says head coach Ryan Sachire. “It was truly a group effort. Adam [Schaechterle] and Cris [James] did an amazing job of coaching. Our win was a group effort from the staff and literally all 10 players who traveled and contributed both on court and by supporting their teammates. This is all a part of the culture of this team–no one person is more valuable than the next, and we all have a huge role to play in the success of the team. It was rewarding to see success and victories to support that culture that we’re building. It’s awesome to see it paying off.”
The Irish started down, as seniors Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley fell to Nils Ellefsen and Ryudi Hirooka of Kentucky at No. 3 doubles, 6-2. Senior Greg Andrews and sophomore Alex Lawson (ranked 21st in the country) brought it back Notre Dame, defeating Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai at No. 1, 6-4. It came down to the No. 2 match, where senior Billy Pecor and freshman Josh Hagar pulled off a victory against Alejando Gomez and Beck Pennington, 6-5 (6).
Even though Notre Dame had secured the doubles point, the singles players still had their work cut out for them. Sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger was first off the court with a victory at No. 4 singles, taking down Jerry Lopez in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Andrews then fell to Jomby at No. 1 in close sets, losing both in tiebreakers, 6-5 (5), 6-5 (5).
Kentucky tied the match up at 2-2 as Alejandro Gomez defeated Hagar in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. After starting out down a set, Bandy pulled out his match at No. 2 against Pennington, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, but the Wildcats tied it up at 3-3 when Grant Roberts took down Wyatt McCoy at No. 5, 6-0, 6-3.
The match came down to No. 6 singles, with freshman Eddy Covalschi playing Hirooka. Covalschi took the first set 6-3, but Hirooka bounced back in the second to win it in a tiebreaker, 6-5 (5). The match came down to a final set, in which each player broke the other once, to come to 4-4 before Covalschi pulled ahead to win the last two games. The final score was 6-3, 5(5)-6, 6-4.
Interestingly enough, the next time the Irish play will be against Kentucky–the Wildcats will travel to South Bend to face the Irish at home Feb. 2 at 2:00 p.m.
1. Tom Jomby (UK) def. Greg Andrews (ND), 6-5 (5), 6-5 (5)
2. Ryan Bandy (ND) def. Beck Pennington (UK), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Josh Hagar (ND), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
4. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) def. Jerry Lopz (UK), 6-3, 6-2
5. Grant Roberts (UK) def. Wyatt McCoy (ND), 6-0, 6-3
6. Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. Ryuji Hirooka (UK), 6-3, 5(5)-6, 6-4
1. Greg Andrews/Alex Lawson (ND) def. Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK), 6-4
2. Billy Pecor/Josh Hagar (ND) def. Alejandro Gomez/Beck Pennington (UK), 6-5 (5)
3. Nils Ellefsen/Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Ryan Bandy/Matt Dooley (ND), 6-2
–Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant