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Men’s Tennis

Irish single play shines in ITA Regionals

| Thursday, October 27, 2016

Over the fall break, Notre Dame competed in the ITA Midwest Regionals at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio. The four day tournament lasted from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23.

In the singles competition, senior Josh Hagar, freshman Jonathan Small, freshman Matt Gamble, sophomore Alex Lebedev and freshman Guillermo Cabrera were able to earn singles victories in the round of 64. Lebedev and Hagar made it through the round of 32 and Lebedev emerged victorious in the round of 16 before falling in the quarterfinals.

In doubles competition, the duos of sophomore Grayson Broadus/Small, junior Drew Dawson/Cabrera and Lebedev/Gamble powered their way to wins in the round of 64. Eddy Covalschi/Hagar joined Lebedev/Gamble in earning victories in the round of 32, and made it all the way to the quarterfinals. Both teams dropped close matches in the semifinals.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said he was happy with his team’s showing over the weekend.

“[This was] a big individual tournament where all of our guys competed and overall I was very happy with our performance,” Sachire said. “I thought we played and competed well. You always want to do a little better in terms of results and things like that, every team does I’m sure, but overall I was very happy with how we did things and how we are making progress this fall.”

When asked what he liked in particular, Sachire pointed to the performances of the freshman on the team as well as Lebedev’s performance.

“All four freshman that were in the main draw went at least one round in the draw,” Sachire said. “That is a great sign for the future when your freshman are able to win matches at a high level against the nation’s best players. Alex Lebedev, in his first season of competition for us, advanced to the quarterfinals of the singles competition and the semifinals of the doubles competition, which is remarkable. Those were some of the highlights. Also last but not least was our two seniors, Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar, making it to the semifinals of the doubles competition. Those two guys are going to be our leaders this year and it was good to see them continuing the successful fall season that they have had.”

Sachire said his team needs to work on improving their individual games and work on serving some more.

“For each player I think it is a little bit different,” Sachire said. “It is an individual game, so each guy has a different thing to work on. But in general the two most important shots in tennis are the serve and the return of serve, and we can continue to get better at those two aspects of the game. Before we compete again, a big emphasis in practice is going to be the serve and the return of serve.”

When asked who stood out to him, Sachire again mentioned Lebedev and the showing he had over the weekend.

“I think Lebedev probably stands out just because of his performance in both singles and doubles,” Sachire said. “He’s a sophomore academically but he had to redshirt last year because of an injury, so he is relatively new to college tennis. For him to come out and perform as well as he did, to advance as far as he did in both the singles and the doubles, was a really great thing.”

The Irish’s next tournament as a group will be the weekend of Nov. 4-6 when a group of Notre Dame players will compete in the ITF Futures tournament in Birmingham, Alabama from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3.

“I think we’re on a great path and every day is an opportunity to get better,” Sachire said. “We’re going to practice and train hard and be ready to go in about 10 days.”

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