Buckeyes stifle Irish in Columbus
Ryan Klaus | Monday, February 23, 2015
No. 17 Notre Dame suffered its first loss in February and had its four-match winning streak snapped Saturday at No. 9 Ohio State in a 6-1 loss.
The loss marked the first time all season that the Irish (6-2) tallied just a single point.
Ohio State (11-3) started the match by narrowly taking the doubles point in a tiebreaker, 7-6. After the first two doubles matches were split, Irish juniors Quentin Monaghan and Eric Schnurrenberger took their No. 3 doubles match to a tiebreaker against the 36th-ranked pairing of Buckeyes senior Hunter Callahan and junior Chris Diaz. Ultimately, Ohio State took the point with a win to five in the tiebreak.
“We probably should have won the doubles point to be honest,” Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said. “As we’ve said all along, doubles is the strength of our team, so we weren’t surprised to be in that position.”
The battles for singles were not as tight as the one for the doubles; the Buckeyes took five of the six singles matches, three in two-set sweeps. In the two sets that did go three sets, Irish senior Billy Pecor and sophomore Eddy Covalschi fell to Buckeyes sophomores Raif Stenbach and Herkko Pollanen, respectively.
Junior Quentin Monaghan earned the lone point for Notre Dame in a straight-set, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Diaz, extending his singles winning streak to five. Monaghan has not lost a singles decision since a Jan. 24 match against Oklahoma State.
“Quentin did a heck of a job,” Sachire said. “Chris Diaz beat him last year. For Quentin to not only return the favor, but [also] to do it so effectively was really a testament to how well he played. Honestly, it’s what Quentin’s been doing all year and it’s what we’ve come to expect of him with those performances. The great thing about Quentin is there no one in the country who works harder than him.”
With the win against Notre Dame, Ohio State improved its home record to 10-0 and extended its NCAA-record home winning streak to 201 matches. The Buckeyes have not lost in Columbus, Ohio since 2003.
“I think it starts with the great players and coaches they have,” Sachire said. “Ohio State’s been a great program for 15 years or so and there’s no magic in their facility, it’s just the fact that they’ve been really good. They’ve had really good players and really good coaches and this year is no different. It was a good opportunity. We did not play our best tennis, but you have to give Ohio State a lot of credit.”
Notre Dame is set to return home against Illinois next Saturday at 4 p.m. at Eck Tennis Pavilion for its last of four-consecutive matches against Big Ten opponents. The match against the No.6 Illini (9-2) is a rescheduled match after the Feb. 2 match between the two was postponed due to inclement weather.