Notre Dame drops first match of season
Renee Griffin | Thursday, February 6, 2014
The No. 16 Irish suffered their first loss of the season Wednesday night at No. 22 Illinois, falling 5-2.
Notre Dame (6-1) faced the Illini (3-2), and the Irish showed well in the doubles matches. Senior Ryan Bandy and sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger won their match 6-1, while senior Billy Pecor and freshman Josh Hagar beat the No. 27 doubles team in the country of juniors Farris Gosea and Blake Bazarnik.“You can’t let guys back in the matches when they’re the quality of the Illinois team, that’s what did it for us,” Irish coach Ryan Sachire said.
The only doubles loss was the No. 22 Irish pair of senior Greg Andrews and sophomore Alex Lawson to the Illini’s pair of Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon, who are ranked fourth in the nation in doubles.
“They did a good job of rallying. You know, we won the doubles point and we were up and in the singles too,” Sachire said. “They really made a run at us and turned the tables quickly. We were certainly disappointed about our inability to do the same to them.”
The Irish were not able to mount a similar charge in singles, however. Though Schnurrenberger got the second Irish point with a close win, the Illini beat Notre Dame in the five other singles matches.
“We have to work on finishing when we get a lead,” Sachire said. “We can enjoy the fact that we’re winning, but then putting the hammer down and finishing is important.”
Andrews, ranked No. 22 at singles, fell first to Illini sophomore Jared Hiltzik, ranked No. 4 nationally at singles. Subsequent losses by Bandy, Lawson, Hagar and freshman Eddy Covalschi clinched the match for the Illini.
Sachire says he is optimistic about the future of the team, especially considering it was the team’s first loss.
“Look, we’re a good team and we’re playing a lot of quality teams,” Sachire said. “It’s about just getting back to who we are. We’re going to rest up and get ready for a really big week of tennis.”
Notre Dame will have an opportunity for redemption Tuesday when the team travels to Northwestern for a 6 p.m. match.
Contact Renee Griffin at [email protected]