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Men’s Tennis

Two doubles pairs head to ITAs

| Wednesday, November 5, 2014

After three weeks since its last match, Notre Dame will be back in action for the final time in its fall campaign this weekend for the four-day ITA National Indoor Championships at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. The singles and doubles competition begins today, with the final round to be held on Sunday afternoon.

Irish sophomore Josh Hagar sets up to return a volley during Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Kentucky on Feb. 2 at Eck Tennis Center.Michael Yu | The Observer

Irish sophomore Josh Hagar sets up to return a volley during Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Kentucky on Feb. 2 at Eck Tennis Center.

“Since our last match, practices have been at an extremely high level of intensity and competitiveness since the tournament,” sophomore Drew Dawson said.

The annual ITA National Indoor Championships features 26 teams in singles competition for a 32-person singles draw. On the doubles side, 20 duos will be participating this weekend.

Notre Dame, who does not have any singles players participating this weekend, will be represented by its doubles teams of sophomores Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar, and senior Billy Pecor and junior Alex Lawson.

The duo of Covalschi and Hagar is seeded fifth in the doubles category and has a first-round bye.

Covalschi and Hagar will face the seventh-seeded team from Mississippi State of Julian Cash and Florian Lakat. They are slated to take the court at 4 p.m., this afternoon. As the seventh seed, Cash and Lakat also earned a first round bye for the National Indoor Championships.

“Both our doubles teams have a solid shot at making it deep into the tournament,” Dawson said. “I don’t think many other teams are sending two doubles teams so that could serve as an advantage for us. Given how well both teams have been playing since regionals, they both have a legitimate shot at making it into the final day.”

Should they win this afternoon, Covalschi and Hagar will be back for the round of 16 Friday. They will likely face the top-seeded doubles team of Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz fro USC. Hanfmann will also be participating in singles play in this weekend’s competition. He is seeded 32nd among singles competitors and plays today at noon. The top Trojan doubles team will face the winner the first round match between Columbia and North Carolina State this afternoon.

“After such a strong season last year, the team has made it clear from the beginning of the fall that we are not satisfied with last year’s success, Dawson said “We have made it a point to be gritty as a team this season. We have focused a lot on maintaining a dual match intensity in every practice. “

The Irish are familiar with the tournament. Last year, they did not send a doubles team but were represented by then-senior Greg Andrews in singles play. Andrews fell in the second round.

This weekend’s ITA National Championships will mark the final time that the Irish will take the court for competitive play during 2014.  Their spring campaign will begin with the Morgan Run Hidden duals in Rancho Santa Fe, California, from Jan. 9- 11.

“We are going to really focus on our fitness between next week and the end of the semester,” Dawson said, “Our trainer has made it clear to us that we will be spending a significant amount of time in the gym, working on getting faster and stronger. Aside from that, we will stay be hitting together without the coaches and preparing ourselves for the upcoming season.”

The Irish compete today in the doubles draw of the ITA National Indoor Championships in Flushing, New York.

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About Henry Hilliard

Henry is from Kansas City, lives in O'Neill Hall and is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Business Economics. He covers Men's Tennis and Men's Swimming and Diving for the Observer.

Contact Henry