Monaghan keeps streak alive in Irish losses
Dominic Bush | Thursday, April 9, 2015
Notre Dame traveled to Tobacco Road over the weekend, dropping a pair of contests to Duke and North Carolina.
While the Irish (12-9, 4-5 ACC) saw their four-game winning streak ended, junior Quentin Monaghan extended his personal winning streak to 10 consecutive matches with a pair of wins at No. 1 singles.
“Quentin’s season has been incredible,” junior Kenneth Sabacinski said. “He has won so many big matches this year, and it has been amazing to be able to see him excel in the big moments of each match he’s played.”
Against the No. 6 Blue Devils (19-3, 6-2) on Good Friday, Monaghan notched one of Notre Dame’s two points in a 5-2 loss when he defeated 11th-ranked Duke freshman Nicholas Alvarez in a match that went the distance. Monaghan took the first set 7-5 but dropped the second 5-7, before rallying to take the tiebreaker 10-6.
Sabacinski secured the other Irish point in a straight-set win over Duke junior Josh Levine at the No. 5 singles flight.
Irish senior Billy Pecor stretched his match at No. 4 singles to a tiebreak before falling 12-10 to Duke junior Bruno Semenzato while sophomore Eddy Covalschi lost in three sets at No. 3 singles, preventing the Irish from taking any more singles points.
The doubles point came down to the final match earlier in the day as Duke eked out the win with an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles. Semenzato and sophomore T.J. Pura won the point for the Blue Devils with a win over the Irish pair of Sabacinski and Monaghan.
Notre Dame returned to action Sunday down the road in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and fell 5-2 to the No. 16 Tar Heels (16-8, 5-3).
For the second time in three days, Monaghan defeated a top-15 opponent as he took down North Carolina sophomore Brayden Schnur — who was ranked 12th — in three sets. Monaghan took the first set 6-3 before Schnur replied in an emphatic fashion, taking the second set 6-0 to force the decisive final set.
Monaghan dominated the final set though, winning 6-2 to lift the Irish junior into the top 10 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings.
“[He is] the hardest worker I have ever seen in tennis,” Sabacinski said.
Lawson’s play was the other bright spot for the Irish on Sunday, as the 6-foot-3 junior beat North Carolina sophomore Oystein Steiro in a straight-set, 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Doubles remained a sore spot for the Irish, where Notre Dame dropped both completed doubles matches.
Sabacinski said while the Irish lost a pair over the weekend, they can build on the results moving forward.
“We should take confidence in the fact that we had chances to beat two of the best teams in the country,” Sabacinski said. “If we can improve from this past weekend, I think our team will end the season very strongly.”
After this late season hiccup, the Irish now focus their attention on their end-of-the-year home stand, which begins Friday with a match against ACC rival Clemson. The match is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Courtney Tennis Center.