Irish eke out win over Clemson to kick-off homestand
Ryan Klaus | Monday, April 13, 2015
Notre Dame started its final home stand with a tight 4-3 victory against Clemson on Friday afternoon at Courtney Tennis Center.
The Irish (13-9, 5-5 ACC) started the match by winning two of the three doubles matches to take the doubles point against the Tigers (10-14, 1-9).
After winning the doubles point, Notre Dame faced adversity when their No. 2 singles player, sophomore Josh Hagar, was scratched from the singles lineup.
As a result of Hagar being scratched, junior Kenneth Sabacinski entered the lineup at the sixth singles spot, losing 6-0, 6-2, to Clemson freshman Hampton Drake. Everyone else besides junior Quentin Monaghan moved up a spot in Notre Dame’s lineup.
With the Tigers and Irish tied 3-3, the contest came down to the third-position matchup between Irish senior Billy Pecor and Clemson junior Luke Johnson. Pecor won the match in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-0.
“Josh is a core guy for us,” Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said. “He’s one of our best players and competitors. Any time a guy you count on to give a really solid performance every single match can’t go, it does two things. Number one, it creates a little bit more pressure on some of the other guys, but at the same time it creates some opportunities for some of the guys to step up, too. Billy is a really good example where he played higher in the lineup than he’s been playing and was able to step up.”
Monaghan, ranked 10th nationally, continued his hot steak and won his 11th-straight match by beating senior Hunter Harrington 6-4, 7-5.
“The buzz saw that is Quentin Monaghan keeps on rolling,” said Sachire. “That guy [Harrington] beat him really bad last year, so it’s a really a good indication of how much Quentin’s improved and how much better his level of tennis is in one calendar year. Hunter Harrington is a good player. For Quentin to beat him in straight sets like he did is awesome.”
Sachire said he was also impressed with junior Alex Lawson, who won in singles and doubles Friday.
“Alex started the year as a guy whose identity was maybe of a guy who was a really good doubles player and someone capable of playing really good singles, but he needed to learn how to win and win consistently,” Sachire said. “A lot of that comes from self-confidence and really honing your game on the court. It’s been really fun to see [him have success] because he is another really hard worker who is really dedicated to our team. It’s really fulfilling to see someone like that figure it out and have the success in terms of results that you know they deserve.
“We talk in our program all the time about the process and doing the right things on a daily basis to prepare yourself to win and he does. He believed in it and stuck to it and is doing a heck of a job for us.”
Notre Dame returns to the courts Friday when it takes on ACC foe Wake Forest at Courtney Tennis Center — weather permitting.