Irish fall to Demon Deacons in ACC tournament
Jackie Brebeck | Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The Irish made it to the quarterfinals in the ACC tournament, beating Duke on Thursday before falling to No. 7 Wake Forest on Friday.
Notre Dame (15-13, 6-6) came into the tournament as the seventh seed, topping 10-seed Duke (11-15, 4-8) to extend its win streak to five and earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
The doubles point was quickly claimed by Notre Dame with wins from doubles teams of freshman Grayson Broadus and senior Nicolas Montoya on court No. 3 and seniors Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan on court No. 1.
Junior Josh Hagar won the first singles match 6-1, 6-0, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead, but it was quickly answered by Duke with senior Josh Levine’s 6-2, 6-1 win over Irish senior Kenneth Sabacinski, narrowing the gap to 2-1. Junior Eddy Covalschi widened Notre Dame’s lead again with his 7-6, 6-3 victory on court No. 3.
Broadus eventually clinched his victory in three sets, 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-1, making the score 4-1 and ending the match.
The victory allowed the seventh-seeded Irish to move on to face the second-seeded Demon Deacons, who had won 13 of their last 14 matches, on Friday.
Notre Dame’s match against Wake Forest started with the Demon Deacons securing the double point, with wins by the team of senior Romain Bogaerts and freshman Dennis Uspensky over Broadus/Montoya, 6-3, and freshman Petros Crysochos and senior Jon Ho over Covalschi/Hagar, 6-4.
Wake Forest took the first singles match of the afternoon, with Uspensky defeating Broadus 6-2, 6-1 on court No. 6, but Hagar followed with a 6-1, 7-5 win on court No. 2 to bring the score to 2-1. No. 12 Monaghan was defeated by No. 14 sophomore Skander Mansouri, 6-2, 7-5, on court No. 1. Covalschi won his match 6-3, 7-6(4) on court No. 3 to bring the Irish within one again at 3-2. Sabacinski pulled through a tie-breaker, 7-6(3), 1-6, 7-6(5) to bring the score to 3-3, but Lawson lost his tiebreaker, 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(5), giving Wake Forest the 4-3 win.
“The matches against Duke and Wake Forest were once again really strong performances from our guys,” Irish head coach Ryan Sachire. “For the past month, our players have been competing at an extremely high level and putting themselves in position to beat everyone that we’ve played.”
Now, the Irish will be training to compete in the NCAA tournament in three weeks.
“The ACC is such a strong tennis conference,” Sachire said. “And the standard of play has been extremely high in every match that we’ve played for the past month. I feel strongly that we are peaking at the right time and capable of making a run three weeks from now in the NCAA tournament.”
As the season comes to a close, Sachire said he is both excited for the upcoming NCAA tournament and sad his time with this particular team is coming to an end.
“I am so proud of the group of juniors and seniors on our team who have dealt with injuries and other forms of adversity throughout the year but have stayed locked in and focused on getting better each day and giving everything they have physically, mentally and emotionally every match,” Sachire said. “They continue to elevate our program to the highest national level, and I am certainly going to miss coaching this group once our season is over. Until then, we are going to work as hard as we can to prepare for our next opponent and our next opportunity.”