Joanne Norell | February 14, 2017
The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team split the two matches of a doubleheader Sunday, falling in the first contest to No. 17 Illinois 5-2 before defeating Detroit Mercy 7-0 in the nightcap at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
How It Happened
The Irish got off to a quick start with an energetic approach to doubles, dominating at the first two positions to claim the doubles point in less than 30 minutes. In near simultaneous finishes, sixth-ranked senior pair Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi defeated Gui Gomes and Aron Hiltzik 6-1 at the No. 1 spot, while sophomore Alex Lebedev and freshman Matt Gamble clinched the point with a 6-1 victory over Julian Childers and Alex Jesse by the same score at No. 2.
The Illini proved a more even matchup in singles as the teams split first sets 3-3. Illinois pulled even, however, as No. 31 Aleks Vukic defeated the 34th-ranked Hagar, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1. Notre Dame regained the lead at 2-1 when Lebedev downed Gui Gomes 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 3 position.
Illinois again tied the match when No. 21 Aron Hiltzik defeated Covalschi on Court 2, 6-2, 6-2. The remaining three matches went into third sets, but
After winning the first set, Gamble was unable to close out a decision against Aleks Kovacevic on Court 4, falling 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 as Illinois went up 3-2. The Illini clinched the match at 4-2 as Julian Childers defeated sophomore Grayson Broadus 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 at the No. 5 position. The Illini got the final point at No. 6 as Zeke Clark upended freshman Guillermo Cabrera 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
The Irish earned the doubles point, again with wins at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots. Hagar and freshman partner Johnathan Small picked up the first decision, 6-3, over Chance Conley and Nathan Ponton on Court 2, while Broadus and junior Brendon Kempin clinched the point with a 6-2 victory over Artem Vasheshnikov and Patryk Koscielski on Court 1.
Notre Dame went up 2-0 with the first collegiate dual singles win for freshman Conor Somers, who defeated Conley 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6 singles. He was followed by sophomore Daniel Rayl, who made it 3-0 with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Kacper Stelmaszak at the No. 4 position. Kempin clinched the victory for the Irish with a 6-1, 7-5 decision over Adam Zychowicz.