Mar 7, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT
College tennis as a spectator sport is underrated. I realized this while watching #27 Notre Dame take on #13 Illinois on Tuesday. Actually, I think I realized it a few weeks ago when Notre Dame took down Michigan, but Tuesday night reiterated it.
The intensity of the matches was nearly palpable. Notre Dame won the doubles point after freshman Quentin Monaghan and junior Matt Dooley won their set 8-4 (which was also their first win as a duo), and freshman Alex Lawson and junior Billy Pecor rallied after being down 3-1 to win their set 8-5. Junior Greg Andrews and senior Spencer Talmadge did not finish their set, but were leading 4-3 when it was called off.
“I thought our team prepared really well for this match,” said sophomore Wyatt McCoy. “We got off to a great start in doubles, especially with Matt Dooley and Quentin Monaghan winning fairly quickly. The doubles point was very important because Illinois had that extra pressure going into the singles.”
The singles matches were just as, if not more, intense than the doubles. I’ll let Matt Dooley explain:
As far as individual performances during the match are concerned, there were too many highlights to name them all. Everyone stepped up, from line 1 to line 6. I was, however, particularly excited to see Billy Pecor respond so emphatically after a disappointing trip to Wisconsin, and to see [senior] Blas Moros, one of our captains, submit one of the grittiest performances I’ve seen in my time with the Irish. Both of these guys have been huge for us all year, and this match against a top 20 opponent was no exception.
Singles matches were played by Andrews (who, despite a loss against Illinois, won his 3rd BIG EAST Player of the Week title this season this week), Monaghan (unfinished), Pecor (won), Moros (unfinished), McCoy (won), and senior Michael Moore (won).
Both McCoy and Dooley added that the win against Illinois helps set up the Irish for a promising show at the Blue-Grey National Tennis Classic next weekend in Montgomery, Ala.
Every game, set, and match they play shows that this is a team that means business. The Irish are making their way up in the rankings and all the while are proving to be very exciting and entertaining to watch.
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