By Dalton Ray–
For the second time this season, men’s tennis narrowly escapes Notre Dame, winning 4-3. The Cards advance in the first round of the ACC tournament and will face two-seed Virginia on April 28 at 10 a.m.
“I have been lucky to be a part of all of the Notre Dame versus Louisville classics but this one is hard to beat,” coach Rex Ecarma said. “A college tennis writer once wrote that the Irish vs. Cardinals is one of the best rivalries in our sport.”
Louisville won the doubles point, winning 6-2 on courts one and three. The nation’s No. 31 pair of Parker Wynn and Sean Donohue defeated No. 32 Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi for the second time in 2017.
The Irish opened singles with a 6-2, 6-1 lead to tie the match. Wynn gave Louisville the lead, but Nicolas Rouanett lost 6-4, 6-2 and ND tied the match again.
The final three courts went to third sets, leading to a thrilling finish in Rome, Georgia.
Brandon Lancaster dominated the first set but was pushed to the limit in the last two. Lancaster fell 7-5 in the second set, but returned the favor with a 7-5 win to notch the third point.
Notre Dame’s Grayson Broadus responded after falling 6-3 in the first set, winning 6-4, 6-2 to tie the match at 3-3.
All eyes shifted to the first court where Chris Morin-Kougoucheff and No. 48 Hagar battled for the match point. Morin-Kougoucheff outlasted Hagar in the first set, winning 7-6 (11-9) and Hagar took the second set 6-3. Louisville clinched the match with Morin-Kougoucheff’s 6-3 win in the third set.
“Parker won some big points in the first set then finished strong,” said Ecarma. “Chris was playing the current ACC player of the week who just beat the former No. 1 player in the country at Wake Forest. The quality of the points were pro-level … This team fights so hard for each other which we call ‘the circle.’ When you have a team like this, anything is possible. We are excited to play the defending national champs next. We will just try to keep doing what we do.”
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal