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Men’s Tennis

Irish drop two conference matchups to UNC and Duke

| Friday, April 21, 2017

Notre Dame spent Easter weekend in North Carolina, facing off against conference-rivals Duke and No. 12 North Carolina.

The Irish (12-11, 3-7 ACC) dropped their match to Duke (14-8, 7-4) on Friday 4-3, then fell against North Carolina (21-3, 7-3) 6-1 Sunday.

Irish freshman Matt Gamble serves the ball during Notre Dame’s 7-0 win over Boston College on  Feb. 11, at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Gamble lost in both of his singles matches this past weekend.Ann Curtis | The Observer

Irish freshman Matt Gamble serves the ball during Notre Dame’s 7-0 win over Boston College on
Feb. 11, at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Gamble lost in both of his singles matches this past weekend.

Against Duke, senior Josh Hagar won a close 7-5, 7-6 (11-9) decision, while sophomore Alex Lebedev emerged victorious in his match 7-5, 6-2. Sophomore Grayson Broadus, senior Eddy Covalschi and freshmen Matt Gamble and Guillermo Cabrera were unable to pull out victories in their singles matches.

In the doubles competition, the No. 2 pair of Gamble and Lebedev won 6-4, while the No. 3 pair of junior Brendon Kempin and Broadus took home a 6-2 victory. The No. 1 pair of Covalschi and Hagar dropped a 6-2 decision.

Against North Carolina, Lebedev dropped the first set of his match 6-2 before bouncing back to win his final two sets 6-2, 6-4. Hagar took his first set 6-2 before dropping the final two 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-6). Cabrera lost in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, while Covalschi dropped a 6-3, 6-1 decision. Broadus came up short in his match 7-5, 6-2, while Gamble fell 6-1, 7-5.

In the doubles competition, the No. 3 pair of Kempin and Broadus lost 6-1, while the No. 1 pair of Covalschi and Hagar dropped a 6-2 decision. The match featuring the No. 2 pair of Gamble and Lebedev was discontinued.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said the performances of Hagar and Lebedev stood out to him during the matches.

“I think one guy that played well over the weekend was Josh Hagar, who won against Duke and lost a really close match against North Carolina to one of the best players in the country,” Sachire said. “Josh’s level of play was really good and he put himself in a position to win both of those matches. Also Alex Lebedev, one of our younger guys, who’s a redshirt freshman, won both of his matches and did a great job. He’s also playing very well.”

Sachire said he will work with his team to improve on what he calls “repeatability.”

“I think being able to execute point in and point out, and not have our execution be sporadic with too many mistakes mixed in there,” Sachire said. “I thought our level was good enough to win both matches, it’s just we did not execute with the consistency necessary to beat quality teams like Duke and North Carolina. That’s what we’re going to emphasize and we have a great opportunity to close out the regular season at home this coming weekend and play our best tennis.”

The Irish will return to action this weekend when they host conference-matches against Clemson on Friday and No. 1 Wake Forest on Sunday at Courtney Tennis Center. The two contests will be Notre Dame’s final regular season matches.

Sachire said his team will have a normal practice week leading up to the matches.

“I feel like our preparation has been good,” Sachire said. “We’ll work on maybe some different things this week, like consistency and fundamentals, but at this point in the season, we’re practicing a little less than we did earlier in the year just because we’ve played a lot of tennis and we want to make sure the guys are fresh still, so it’s going to be a pretty routine week of preparation. Hopefully, the practices are going to be very spirited and focused and we’ll get after it on Friday.”

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