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Men’s Tennis: Irish split Sunday doubleheader

Peter Steiner | Monday, February 4, 2013

In its marquee matchup Sunday at Eck Tennis Pavilion, No. 30 Notre Dame fell to No. 5 Duke 4-0, narrowly dropping the doubles point before losing three more singles matches.

The Irish (4-3) followed the loss with their third home sweep of the spring season, defeating IUPUI 7-0.

Despite several close matches against Duke (6-1), the Irish were unable to pick up any single wins before Duke took the overall match to end the competition. 

“I feel like we played well enough to win in enough spots that we had a chance to win the match,” Irish coach Bob Bayliss said. “But I don’t know that we competed at crunch time quite well enough. I think we have got to believe in ourselves a little bit more, and we have got to show a little bit more poise than we should in a couple of the matches.”

When the points mattered the most, the Irish faltered. In the No. 1 singles match, Irish junior Greg Andrews served with a 4-3 lead in both the first and second sets, but No. 11 Blue Devils senior Henrique Cunha broke Andrews in both sets en route to a 6-4, 6-4 victory. 

The No. 3 singles match featured a tight battle claimed by No. 14 Blue Devils freshman Michael Redlicki in a back-and-forth first set tiebreaker 10-8. Irish freshman Quentin Monaghan led the tiebreaker 6-5 but couldn’t convert on his set point. The match ended with Monaghan up 3-2 in the second set.

“We just didn’t win the big points,” Bayliss said. “That’s what it’s going to take. I don’t think we have to hit the ball a whole lot better. But I think we have to be more consistent at the biggest times.”

The biggest bright spots from Sunday’s match against the Blue Devils came from Monaghan, No. 4 singles player junior Billy Pecor and the No. 2 doubles team, Bayliss said. 

Composed of freshman Alex Lawson and Pecor, the No. 2 doubles team won its match 8-5. But the Irish didn’t win the doubles point, as the No. 1 doubles pair couldn’t overcome the Blue Devils, and a late surge by the No. 3 doubles team was not enough to take the victory.

“The doubles point could have swung either way,” Bayliss said. “We were in control of No. 2 doubles right off the bat. But they were in control of No. 1 doubles the whole way. Where we really got hurt was third doubles where we pretty much dominated the latter part of the match. But we got in too big a hole in the beginning.”

Notre Dame’s second match of the day against IUPUI (0-7) was a completely different match in both lineup and result. The Irish took control from the beginning, winning all three doubles matches.

Then, with Irish senior Michael Moore, junior Matt Dooley and sophomore Michael Fredericka playing in the last three singles slots, Notre Dame won 7-0.

After another full week of practice, the Irish will face more top competition when they travel to East Lansing, Mich., to play Michigan State this upcoming Saturday.

“We are going to have opportunities in front of us,” Bayliss said. “We’re playing well enough and we haven’t done anything bad … We just have to do a better job when it matters.”

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu