Men's Tennis Falls to No. 14 Notre Dame in Tight 4-3 Affair
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s tennis team played a fantastic doubles point against two top-10 teams, winning both of those matches, but fell in four singles matches on courts one, two, four and five to fall to the No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington.
In the doubles point, Kentucky came out firing, as both duos of Beck Pennington/Kevin Lai on court one and then Jerry Lopez/William Bushamuka were facing top-10 teams in the country. Pennington and Lai were broken to begin their match on court one before winning the next six consecutive games to close out the match 6-1 on court one and knock off the No. 8 doubles team in the country, Alex Lawson and Billy Pecor.
On court two, Lopez and Bushamuka knocked off the No. 9 ranked doubles team in the nation in Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar with two breaks of serve and key service holds in tight deuce games to collect the win, 6-2 on court two. When the doubles point was clinched, Kentucky’s Trey Yates and Charles Minc were leading Notre Dame’s third doubles pair 4-2 and up a break at the time of clinch.
In singles, Notre Dame came out firing, winning all four first sets on courts one through four to take the early leg up in the singles competition. Notre Dame would tie the match at 1-1 when UK’s Charles Minc was forced to retire midway through the second set of his match at 6-3, 5-2 to give the Fighting Irish its first point of the match.
The Fighting Irish would extend its lead in the singles competition with wins on courts one and three, as No. 96 Beck Pennington couldn’t mount a second set rally, losing the deuce point at 5-4 in the second set to drop his match on court one to No. 37 Quentin Monaghan, 6-2, 6-4 for his first loss of the season.
Notre Dame would clinch the match at 4-1 when Kentucky’s Kevin Lai lost in straight sets on court five, 7-5, 6-2 to give the Irish its first win of the 2015 season in dual match formats.
On court two, Kentucky’s Jerry Lopez earned a three-set victory over No. 82 Josh Hagar. After having a couple of set points in the opening set tiebreak, Hagar rallied to win the tiebreak at 10-8 and collect the 7-6 win. Lopez then won the second set tiebreak 7-4 before closing out his second career win over a ranked opponent 6-3 in the third.
Kentucky would earn its third point on court six, as freshman Trey Yates rallied to win an opening set tiebreak win 7-6 (5) before cruising all the way to the finish, 6-1 in the second set to collect a straight sets win on the final court.
The series between Notre Dame and Kentucky has always been tight, and this marks the fourth straight meeting that the final score of the match between the Wildcats and Fighting Irish has been 4-3, with ND winning the last three.
Kentucky returns to action on Monday afternoon, as the Wildcats welcome No. 12 Duke to Lexington. UK beat the Blue Devils 5-2 last season in Durham.
No. 14 Notre Dame 4, No. 18 Kentucky 3
Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center – Lexington, Ky.
Jan. 17, 2015
Doubles: (Order of finish: 1, 2*)
1- Beck Pennington/Kevin Lai (UK) def. No. 8 Alex Lawson/Billy Pecor (ND) 6-1
2- Jerry Lopez/William Bushamuka (UK) def. No. 9 Eddy Covalschi/Josh Hagar (ND) 6-2
3- Trey Yates/Charles Minc (UK) led Quentin Monaghan/Eric Schurrenberger (ND) 4-2
Singles: (Order of finish: 4, 1, 3, 5*, 6, 2)
1- No. 37 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 96 Beck Pennington (UK) 6-2, 6-4
2- Jerry Lopez (UK) def. No. 82 Josh Hagar (ND) 6-7 (8), 7-6 (4), 6-3
3- Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. William Bushamuka (UK) 6-4, 6-2
4- Eric Schurrenberger (ND) def. Charles Minc (UK) 6-3, 5-2 (Ret.)
5- Billy Pecor (ND) def. Kevin Lai (UK) 7-5, 6-2
6- Trey Yates (UK) def. Alex Lawson (ND) 7-6 (5), 6-3
***7- Jake Stefanik (UK) def. Kenneth Sabacinski (ND) 6-3, 6-1
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.