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Men’s Tennis: Tight-knit ‘Fab Five’ seek followers via Twitter

Peter Steiner | Tuesday, January 29, 2013

They might not have quite taken collegiate athletics by storm yet as their Twitter account states, but the “Fab Five” have brought new energy and plenty of attention to Notre Dame this season.

The “Fab Five” consists of the five freshmen on the Irish roster and the group has already made big strides on the court, off the court and in the world of social media.

Quentin Monaghan, Alex Lawson, Nicolas Montoya, Kenneth Sabacinski and Eric Schnurrenberger make up this freshmen contingent of the Irish squad. But before these rookies joined the Irish and became the “Fab Five,” they already knew each other through other tennis avenues, Lawson said.

“The four American freshmen knew each other pretty well from junior tournaments and national tournaments, even though we weren’t close living by each other,” Lawson said. “Eric is from Switzerland and he’s so nice and friendly. He fit right in.”

Because they spend many hours each day together, the five freshmen have become a close-knit group that does more than just play tennis together, Monaghan said.

“We are just always around each other,” Monaghan said. “It’s practice every day and then we eat dinner together. We continue to hang out and we just enjoy being around each other and working hard.”

In addition to adjusting to normal college life, the freshmen have also adapted to the collegiate tennis format – something much different than they experienced in high school, Monaghan said.

“It’s much different,” Monaghan said. “While playing matches there are fans and the atmosphere is team-oriented. In juniors, it’s just pretty much all you. You care a lot more about the team. They’ll pick you up if you lose, but if you win you’re really helping out the team.”

This team aspect of college tennis has been something the freshmen particularly enjoy, Lawson said.

“We have a really close team and all the guys are really tight, so it’s a great group to hang around,” Lawson said.

After coming back from winter break early for two-a-day practices, the five freshmen solidified the “Fab Five” by creating a Twitter account (@NDFabFive) to document the group’s play on the court and its shenanigans off it.

“It started as a joke,” Lawson said. “We made a Twitter account … and we were taking pictures and tweeting them, just ridiculous stuff. It pretty much took off from there.”

While the Twitter account provides some good laughs and shows off the freshmen’s humor, it also serves another greater purpose, Monaghan said.

“It’s more to attract attention to us and the tennis team,” Monaghan said. “We think we could become something special as a team, especially later in our careers. The more followers we get, the more support we’ll have and that can only help us.”

For example, on Jan. 19, the “Fab Five” garnered attention for the team’s opening match of the spring season.

“Wake up and smell the tennis balls!!! Men’s Tennis season starts today! See you at the Eck pavilion at 11 #ProtectTheEck,” the “Fab Five” tweeted.

With home matches against No. 5 Duke and No. 2 USC on the Irish schedule, the freshmen and the rest of the team hope the Twitter account can continue to get fans to come support them at the Eck Pavilion.

“There are definitely some big matches that we are looking forward to and trying to get people to come out for,” Lawson said.

With three and a half more years left in their collegiate tennis careers, the “Fab Five” have some lofty goals in their sights.

“We would like to finish in the top 8 in the country and go from there,” Monaghan said. “And as a group, once we are juniors and seniors, [we want] to carry the program along.”

But Lawson chimed in with one more goal – 1,000-plus Twitter followers.

If the “Fab Five” and the Irish can reach their tennis goals first, their other goal is likely to follow.

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu