Jan. 25, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 29 Notre Dame Fighting Irish claimed the Lexington Regional Championship of the 2014 Intercollegiate Kick-Off Weekend by knocking off the No. 8 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team on Saturday afternoon in a wild 4-3 affair at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center.
The Wildcats were unable to secure the doubles point for just the second time all season on Saturday night, as the Fighting Irish picked up wins on courts one and two to take the early 1-0 lead in the match. Kentucky’s Nils Ellefsen and Ryuji Hirooka were the lone winners for UK in the doubles, as they secured a 6-2 win on court three.
UK’s Beck Pennington and Alejandro Gomez had a pair of match points on court two to give the doubles point to Kentucky, but lost both of them, and ended up losing the deciding tiebreaker.
In singles, Kentucky (5-1) won the matches on courts one, three and five to keep the match close, but the deciding factor was court six, as Notre Dame’s Eddy Covalski knocked off Hirooka in three sets, 6-3, 5-6 (5), 6-4.
Hirooka battled to the end, trailing early and forcing a deciding third set after winning a second-set tiebreaker. In the third set, which was the only court playing, Hirooka broke at 2-1 to take the 3-1 lead in the set, but Covalski took five of the final six games to clinch the match.
With the win, Notre Dame (5-0) advances to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas, in mid-February.
Kentucky got singles wins from Jomby, Gomez and Grant Roberts, who tied the match at 3-3 and forced the deciding match on court six.
The Wildcats are back in action on Feb. 2, as Kentucky faces Notre Dame again in a regular-season match in South Bend, Ind. The action will commence at 1 p.m. ET.
2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend
Lexington Regional Final
No. 29 Notre Dame 4, No. 9 Kentucky 3
Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center – Lexington, Ky.
Sat. Jan 25, 2014
Match duration: 4:41
Doubles: (Order of finish: 3, 1, 2*)
1- Greg Andrews/Alex Lawson (ND) def. Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 6-4
2- Billy Pecor/Josh Hagar (ND) def. Alejandro Gomez/Beck Pennington (UK) 6-6 (6)
3- Nils Ellefsen/Ryuji Hirooa (UK) def. Ryan Brandy/Matt Dooley (ND) 6-2
Singles: (Order of finish: 4, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6*)
1- Tom Jomby (UK) def. Greg Andrews (ND) 6-5 (5), 6-5 (5)
2- Ryan Bandy (ND) def. Beck Pennington (UK) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
3- Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Josh Hagar (ND) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
4- Eric Schurrenburg (ND) def. Jerry Lopez (UK) 6-3, 6-2
5- Grant Roberts (UK) def. Wyatt McCoy (ND) 6-0, 6-3
6- Eddy Vovalschi (ND) def. Ryuji Hirooka (UK) 6-3, 5-6 (5), 6-4
For continuing coverage of UK men’s tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.