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Men’s Tennis: Irish thrive over fall break

Greg Hadley | Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It may have been fall break, but the Irish kept busy over the past week, playing in the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional championships in Columbus, Ohio, the USTA Collegiate Clay championships in Orlando, Fla., and the UT Invitational in Austin, Texas, reaching at least the quarterfinals in all of them.

Notre Dame had one of its strongest showings of the fall at the regional championships in Columbus, Irish coach Ryan Sachire said. Five players advanced to the round of 32 in singles play, and two doubles teams reached the quarterfinals. Senior Greg Andrews led the charge for the Irish, reaching the finals in both singles and doubles play, with sophomore Alex Lawson. 

Andrews lost to Ohio State senior Peter Kobelt in the singles final, and Andrews and Lawson fell to Kobelt and his partner, sophomore Kevin Metka, in the doubles final. Still, Sachire said he was pleased with the overall play of his squad.

“Greg [Andrews] played great all weekend,” Sachire said. “He lost in heartbreaking fashion to one of the best players in the country on his home court, so there’s some disappointment in not getting the win when you worked so hard and were so close, but Greg played some of his best tennis ever this weekend. Our team in general played a great tournament. The level of play we brought was extremely high.”

Sachire also said he was impressed with Lawson’s play and could use the doubles team of Lawson and Andrews in the spring.

“There are other options that we may play, but clearly, we know that if we do go with Greg [Andrews] and Alex [Lawson] together, then they have the chance to win every doubles match they play. Alex proved last year he was one of the elite doubles players in the country, and he and Greg cemented that at the regional championship.”  

The Irish next took the court at the Collegiate Clay championships at Orlando, Fla., and the UT Invitational in Austin, Texas. To choose which players played in which tournament, Sachire said he and his coaching staff considered several factors.

“A lot of it was based on where the players were from,” Sachire said. “We have several players from Texas, so we sent them to the Texas Invitational. We also considered how each player’s game would translate best to each surface. We played a clay tournament earlier in the year at the [Olympia Fields Country Club Invitational], so the players that did well there, we were confident would do well in Orlando.”

The moves paid off, as sophomore Quentin Monaghan advanced to the quarterfinals of the Clay championships before falling to No. 1 seed and eventual champion, Roberto Quiroz, a junior from USC. In Austin, seniors Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley and freshman Josh Hagar all reached the quarterfinals. In addition, Sachire said he was particularly pleased with the play of sophomore Kenny Sabacinski, who advanced to the second round of the Clay championships in both doubles and singles play.

“This may not jump off of the page, but Sabacinski was the guy who came out of the weekend helping himself the most in terms of getting some really great wins. Even though he lost in the second round, his wins were very good. He’s had a great fall, and this past weekend did nothing but strengthen his season.”

The Irish next compete at the USTA/ITA National Indoor championships in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., starting Nov. 7.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu