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Men’s Tennis

Irish earn sweep in Sunshine State

| Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Notre Dame came through with a hard-earned Sunshine State sweep over the weekend, downing ACC foes Miami and Florida State in a pair of 4-3 victories.

The Irish (12-7, 4-3 ACC) jumped out to an early lead against the young Hurricanes (7-10, 1-5) by picking up doubles victories from the first- and third-position teams. The nationally ninth-ranked duo of junior Alex Lawson and senior Billy Pecor cruised to an 8-2 win over Miami freshmen Nile Clark and Piotr Lomacki before senior Dougie Barnard and junior Quentin Monaghan slipped past the Miami pair of sophomore Bernard Tefel and freshman Christian Langmo, 8-6.

Senior Billy Pecor hits a backhand during Notre Dame's 4-3 win over Oklahoma State on Jan. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Michael Yu | The Observer
Senior Billy Pecor hits a backhand during Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Oklahoma State on Jan. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Monaghan was the first off the court for Notre Dame in the singles portion of the event, besting Miami’s Lomacki in straight sets at the top of the singles lineup. A pair of Hurricane wins locked the match at two, however, before Notre Dame junior Kenneth Sabacinski defeated Clark 7-5, 7-5 (7-2) to put the Irish a point away from victory.

Lawson fell in three sets, so the match came down to the third position battle between Notre Dame sophomore Josh Hagar and Miami senior Wilfredo Gonzalez. Hagar took the first set, 6-3, and then followed with a 6-4 win in the second set to deliver the win for the Irish.

On Sunday in Tallahassee, Florida, the Irish fell behind the Seminoles (16-6, 4-3) early after losing the doubles point. The Notre Dame pair of Lawson and Pecor was upset by Florida State redshirt junior Benjamin Lock and junior Marco Nunez at the first-position doubles spot, 8-4. The Seminoles then sealed the point with a victory at the third doubles spot by freshmen brothers Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst’s 8-4 win over Barnard and Monaghan.

Monaghan responded to tie the match right back up at the top of the singles lineup, however, breezing by Lock in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. Florida State junior Michael Rinaldi defeated Irish sophomore Eddy Covalschi in straight sets to push the Seminoles back in front.

All four remaining singles matches went to a third set, but three consecutive wins for Notre Dame sealed the match.

Hagar started the Irish run with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Nunez at the second singles position, while he was followed off the court by Sabacinski’s 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Terrance Whitehurst. Lawson’s 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4) tiebreaker win at the five spot clinched Notre Dame’s fourth point on the afternoon to complete the team’s weekend sweep.

Notre Dame’s road experience continues next weekend when the Irish travel to Tobacco Road for showdowns with Duke on Friday and North Carolina on Sunday. The action Friday is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, and continues Sunday at 12 p.m. at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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