Irish drop home match to No. 3 Buckeyes
Tony Zappia | Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Notre Dame put forth a strong effort against No. 3 Ohio State on Sunday at Eck Tennis Pavilion but ultimately fell to the Buckeyes by a final score of 5-2.
The Irish (6-6) started strong, claiming the doubles point after winning two of the three matches. The first victory came as the pairing of freshman Grayson Broadus and senior Quentin Monaghan won three games in a row at the No. 2 court to seal a 6-2 victory over Ohio State redshirt junior Ralf Steinbach and freshman Martin Joyce. The duo of junior Eddy Covalschi and senior Alex Lawson then mounted a comeback in the top flight but fell short as Buckeyes sophomore Mikhail Torpegaard and junior Herkko Pollanen held serve for a 6-4 win for Ohio State. Junior Josh Hagar and senior Eric Schnurrenberger ultimately sealed the doubles point for Notre Dame, staving off a comeback from Ohio State’s duo of redshirt freshman Hugo Di Feo and redshirt senior Chris Diaz to win, 6-3.
As the singles matches got underway, Torpegaard, the sixth-ranked singles player in the country, proved to be too much for Monaghan, winning on the top court, 6-1, 6-2. Pollanen then defeated Schnurrenberger, 6-4, 6-2, to give the Buckeyes (14-1) their first lead of the day. Lawson was able to mount a comeback to defeat Diaz, 0-6, 6-2, 6-2, giving the Irish their only singles victory of the match. However, Di Feo then bested Covalschi, 6-4, 6-3, and Ohio State sealed the victory as Broadus fell to Joyce, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, in a matchup of talented freshmen. The Buckeyes ended the match by adding to their margin of victory as Hagar fell to Steinbach in a back-and-forth battle, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Despite the loss, Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said he was pleased with the way his team hung with a challenging opponent.
“I think a goal of ours is always to be competitive, to play our best at all nine spots in all six singles matches and all three doubles matches, and I thought we did that today,” Sachire said. “Our guys left it all on the line. They went after it. Ohio State was just a little bit too good [Sunday]. We tip our cap to them. They’re a great team, and it gives us a direction for where we need to improve our tennis going forward.”
Sachire said he knows there are ways in which the Irish must improve headed into ACC play, but he is confident the Irish can build on recent performances to improve individually and as a team.
“From a team perspective, I think three of the last four matches, including this one, we’ve played the right way, competed the right way, and I think we’ll continue to build on that and get better in those areas,” Sachire said. “From a game perspective, a skills perspective, that’s pretty different for each guy. We’ll work on those this week and get ready for [Boston College] on Thursday.”
Notre Dame begins ACC play on the road against Boston College on Thursday before returning home to face Louisville on Sunday.