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Men’s Tennis

Squad narrowly falls to Louisville in ACCs, sets sights on NCAA tournament

| Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tenth-seeded Notre Dame lost a close 4-3 match to No. 7 seed Louisville on Thursday at the Rome Tennis Center in Georgia, ending the squad’s ACC tournament run in the second round.

Irish senior Eddy Covalschi returns a shot during Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory over Northwestern on Feb. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish senior Eddy Covalschi returns a shot during Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory over Northwestern on Feb. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

In the singles competition, Irish sophomore Grayson Broadus lost the first set of his match 6-3 before bouncing back to win his second set 6-2. Broadus emerged victorious in the third and decisive set, 6-4. Notre Dame freshman Guillermo Cabrera won his match in straight sets (6-2, 6-1), as did senior Eddy Covalschi (6-4, 6-2).

Freshman Matt Gamble lost the first set of his match 6-2 before winning the second set 7-5, but fell in the third set 7-5. Sophomore Alex Lebedev came up short in his match 6-4, 6-1. Senior Josh Hagar narrowly lost the first set of his match 7-6(8) before rebounding to win second set 6-3. He came up short in the third set 6-3.

In the doubles competition, the top Irish pair of Covalschi/Hagar fell in their match 6-2, while the No. 3 pair of Gamble/Lebedev dropped an identical 6-2 decision. The third match was discontinued.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said it was a tough outcome for his team.

“Much like the first match we played against them this year, we had match points for the entire team match and ended up losing the individual matches 4-3,” Sachire said. “It was a pretty tough result for us but I was proud of the way our guys competed and they played hard and we were right there on the doorstep to win and just couldn’t get it across the finish line.”

Sachire said the play of Cabrera really stood out to him these past couple of weeks.

“I think the number one positive was Guillermo Cabrera, our freshman who had a great weekend the weekend before,” Sachire said. “He continued his awesome play and had a really impressive win and he’s playing his best tennis of the season right now, so that was a huge positive for us. I just thought up and down the lineup we were aggressive in the way our guys competed and went after it. I thought as a whole we did a really good job of that, but we came up just short at the end there.”

Notre Dame will now wait for the results of the NCAA Selection Show on Tuesday to see if they make the NCAA tournament. Sachire said his team will be on the edge of their seats watching.

“We’re obviously hoping to get in but we’re right on the bubble,” Sachire said. “We’ll find out on Tuesday night. We’ll definitely have some individual guys in the individual tournament, and those selections will be announced on Wednesday, but as far as the team event we’ll find out on Tuesday.”

Sachire said his staff will work with the individual players on fixing their weaknesses before the tournament.

“We’re going to continue to practice these next couple of days like usually until we find out we’re not in the tournament, so we’re going to prepare like we will be and get back to work on Monday,” Sachire said. “If it turns out we don’t make it to the team event, we’ll have a block of time between now and the individual event to allow those guys to really train. I think we’ll emphasize strength and conditioning and try to make a push in that area for the guys that are playing and also help some guys tackle areas of their game that have been weaknesses over the past couple of weeks. This gives us a chance to drill and practice a fair amount. Those are really good times to tackle weaknesses and really make some strides in that area.”

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