Notre Dame dominates doubles to kick off 2014
Henry Hilliard | Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Notre Dame began its 2014 campaign with three wins over the weekend, boosted by a trio of victories in doubles performances.
Throughout the competitions, Notre Dame lost only one doubles match, giving the Irish a critical 1-0 lead heading into singles in each matchup.
The Irish squad featured seven different triumphant doubles duos in its matches against William and Mary, Michigan State and Toledo.
“We put a major emphasis on our doubles play throughout the fall and hope that this weekend leads to continued doubles success as we enter our spring season,” senior Matt Dooley said.
Notre Dame played its weekend matches without its No. 2 player, sophomore Quentin Monaghan. When seniors Billy Pecor and Eric Schnurrenberger lost their first match, 6-2, the Irish found themselves in an early hole. The pair of senior Greg Andrews and sophomore Alex Lawson and the duo of seniors Ryan Bandy and Dooley rallied to win two straight doubles matches, propelling the Irish to victory.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup against Michigan State proved to be the most competitive of the weekend.
“In a tight match like what we saw against Michigan State, there is obviously a lot more pressure,” Dooley said. “In a competitive atmosphere like that, particularly in doubles play, there is a real emphasis on execution.”
Against the Griffins on Friday, Andrews and Lawson, the 21st-ranked doubles team in the country, won their match 6-3. They were joined by the duo of senior Billy Pecor and sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger, which guaranteed victory for the Irish.
The Irish doubles swept the Toledo duos in similar fashion Sunday night, as Andrews and Dooley cruised to a 6-0 win and the sophomore team of Nicholas Montoya and Kenny Sabacinski won 6-1. The two matches were completed within 22 minutes, as Notre Dame rolled the Rockets in doubles play.
Against both William and Mary and Toledo, Notre Dame did not even need to complete its third matches. On Friday, Dooley and freshman Josh Hagar’s match went unfinished against the Griffins. Lawson and Schnurrenberger’s match ended in similar fashion against the Rockets, as Andrews/ Dooley and Montoya/Sabacinski’s victories had already secured a Notre Dame doubles victory for the evening.
“The key against teams like William and Mary and Toledo this weekend was making sure we kept focus and avoid the upset against some capable players,” Dooley said.
The squad will rely on a similarly strong double performance this weekend as it travels to Lexington, Ky., to face Minnesota, Kentucky and BYU. Notre Dame should receive a boost, since Monaghan is expected to return to the court. The winner of the pool of three teams will advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas, which the Irish narrowly missed last season.
“This weekend could be a big step for our team,” Dooley said. “Last year we just missed National Indoors and lost a heartbreaker 4-3 against Kentucky. We know that we are a top-10 team and there is a lot of eagerness and anxiousness to go out and prove that on the court.”