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Men’s Tennis: Irish fall to Wildcats

Megan Finneran | Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Despite No. 29 Notre Dame’s best efforts, No. 7 Kentucky came back from behind to win a close 4-3 match Tuesday afternoon at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. The squad’s record now stands at 5-4, with all losses attributed to ranked opponents.

“It was definitely a long and tough-fought match, and we just came up a little short today,” junior Ryan Bandy said. “But we will learn from this loss and move forward.”

Notre Dame took a strong start by winning the doubles match, an area of play the team often struggles with. On the third court, Bandy and junior Matt Dooley took down the Kentucky duo of freshman Beck Pennington and senior Anthony Rossi by a score of 8-5. Kentucky’s top doubles team evened play when No. 35 junior Tom Jomby and freshman Kevin Lai took down the Irish duo of No. 15 junior Greg Andrews and senior Spencer Talmadge. Junior Billy Pecor and freshman Alex Lawson came through with the 8-6 win over juniors Ryuji Hirooka and Alejandro Gomez to secure the first Irish point.

“Winning the doubles point is always something we strive for because it provides great momentum going into the singles,” Bandy said.

Unfortunately, the momentum was not quite enough to power the Irish through the later singles matches. Kentucky immediately bounced back on the No. 2 court, when No. 15 Jomby took down senior Blas Moros 6-3, 6-2. Kentucky’s Rossi then took another point, beating Andrews in the No. 1 spot in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.

With the Irish down 2-1, freshman Quentin Monaghan beat Gomez 6-4, 7-6 in the No. 3 singles to tie the match.

Wildcat sophomore Charles Minc took the lead back, beating sophomore Wyatt McCoy 6-1, 6-3 on the No. 5 court. Again, the score leveled when Pecor took down Kentucky freshman Juan Pablo Murra in a thrilling four-set match.

The two teams entered the final set of singles tied 3-3. But Kentucky junior Grant Roberts passed Bandy in the No. 6 spot, winning 6-3, 6-0 to give the Wildcats the 4-3 win.

“We need to just take what we learned from this tough match and look to better ourselves in every way we can moving forward,” Bandy said.

The Irish will next play this Saturday, when they host No. 21 Michigan at the Eck Tennis Center at 1 p.m.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu