Monaghan works to carry Irish to playoffs
Dominic Bush | Wednesday, April 15, 2015
At 6’0, 142 lbs., junior Quentin Monaghan may not be the most recognizable athletic force as he walks through North Quad on the way back to his dorm after classes. But with a 28-5 singles record and a current No. 9 national ranking, Monaghan is deserving of the same kind of praise and recognition reserved for the likes of Grant and Connaughton.
For the Chatham, New Jersey, native, it all began when he was three, he said. Monaghan, whose father played tennis at Trinity University in Texas, took to the game instantly after watching his older brother play. By age 10 or so, it was apparent that Quentin, too, would play collegiate tennis.
During his teenage years, Monaghan consistently found himself ranked nationally for his age group. He reached No. 25 on the U.S. U18 list, which garnered the attention of numerous college coaches. One such coach was Irish head coach Ryan Sachire. The former Irish tennis standout knew the addition of Monaghan to the team would go a long way for a program on the rise. Monaghan credits Sachire as one of the primary reasons he chose Notre Dame.
“[I] can’t say enough about how important Sach’s presence was,” Monaghan said. “I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have him in my corner. He cares so much about me and this program, it will be tough to leave.”
The highest-ranked recruit of the 2016 class came to South Bend with high expectations and an even greater desire to exceed those expectations. Monaghan went 18-4 in singles matches that first spring and was named Big East Freshman of the Year.
Monaghan built on his first-year success during his sophomore campaign. He posted a 13-8 singles record and was named third-team All-ACC. However, it was what he did in the postseason that added him to Irish tennis lore. In the NCAA tournament, Sachire turned to Monaghan for the decisive match in the Round of 32. His 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over his Ole Miss counterpart sent the Irish to the Sweet 16 and erased the sting of losing in the NCAAs the previous year.
For Monaghan, this remains the highlight of his Notre Dame career. He called the trip to the Sweet 16 “a huge stepping stone for Notre Dame tennis.”
All of this had led to the monster season Monaghan is enjoying now. In addition to his noteworthy overall record, Monaghan is 14-3 against nationally ranked players. Perhaps most impressive is his current streak of 11 consecutive singles victories. He said he doesn’t like to focus on individual stats or accolades, though.
“It’s far more important to keep working hard and sticking to what has made you successful than to sit back and worry about rankings or win streaks,” Monaghan said.
With the ACC tournament and NCAAs right around the corner, Monaghan will need to heed his own advice. Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 37, and a strong showing in the conference tourney will go a long way in seeding for the NCAA tournament, a task Monaghan was confident the team could accomplish.
“I think the expectations are to win the ACC tournament and make a deep run to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament,” Monaghan said.
The Irish have two more regular season matches before Monaghan leads them into the playoffs, the first of which takes place Friday against Wake Forest.