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Men’s Tennis

Notre Dame picks up one win, one loss over break

| Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Notre Dame hosted a doubleheader Saturday against conference-foe No. 3 Virginia and DePaul at Eck Tennis Pavilion, dropping a 6-1 decision to Virginia before bouncing back to defeat DePaul 6-1 in the second match of the day.

Against Virginia (15-0, 2-0 ACC), freshman Guillermo Cabrera recorded the only singles victory for the Irish (9-6, 1-2), winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 on the No. 6 court. On the No. 2 court, senior Eddy Covalschi dropped his first set 6-1 before rebounding to win the second set 6-4. Covalschi fell in the third and deciding set 6-2. On the No. 5 court, freshman Matt Gamble lost his first set 6-3 and won the second set 6-2 before falling in the third set 6-4. Sophomore Grayson Broadus, senior Josh Hagar and sophomore Alex Lebedev fell in straight sets.

Irish freshman Matt Gamble hits a forehand during Notre Dame's 4-1 win over Northwestern on Feb. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish freshman Matt Gamble hits a forehand during Notre Dame’s 4-1 win over Northwestern on Feb. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

In the doubles competition, the team of Covalschi and Hagar fell 6-1 on court No. 1, while junior Brendon Kempin and Broadus lost 6-1 on court No. 3. Gamble and Lebedev were tied 4-4 on court No. 2 before their match was discontinued, as the Cavaliers had already clinched the win.

Against DePaul (10-6), the Irish were powered by singles wins from freshman Johnathan Small (6-2, 7-5), Cabrera (6-0, 6-2), Gamble (6-0, 6-0), Hagar (6-1, 6-4) and Kempin (7-6 (7-5), 6-2). Lebedev won his first set 6-1 before falling in the final two sets 6-3, 6-4 on court No. 2.

In the doubles competition, the team of Covalschi and Hagar won 6-1 on court No. 1 while Kempin and Small recorded a 6-3 victory on court No. 2. Junior Drew Dawson and sophomore Nathan Griffin’s match on court No. 3 was discontinued once the Irish had sealed the victory.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire thought his team had strong moments in both matches.

“I thought we played okay in some spots,” Sachire said. “We played a really good match against DePaul.”

Sachire also noted that Gamble and Cabrera stood out with their play.

“We had two young guys who really played well on Saturday, Matt Gamble and Guillermo Cabrera,” Sachire said. “Guillermo won both of his matches against Virginia and DePaul. Then Matt played loose and had a good chance to win against a really good opponent against Virginia. He ended up losing but he played well, then he won really easily against DePaul. Certainly with freshman, you love to see them consistently improve throughout the season, and those guys have gotten better as the year has gone along and it was great to see them really play well again on Saturday.”

Sachire said his team will work to improve its doubles play.

“We need to get back to playing better doubles to be honest,” Sachire said. “I think doubles points are huge points and it is a huge part of our team’s identity. We have to pay more attention to that and I think we also have to emphasize our serving. I don’t think we served as well as Virginia did the other day and it’s tough if you’re getting out-served and you have to beat them exclusively off of the ground and it wears you down a little bit. I think paying attention to doubles this week and getting some rhythm back with our serving, we should be good to go on Friday against Virginia Tech.”

The Irish will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Blacksburg, Virginia, to take on conference-opponent Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. at Burrows-Burrleson Tennis Center.

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