Sophomore Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff’s 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 48 Josh Hagar lifted the seventh-seeded University of Louisville men’s tennis team to a 4-3 win over tenth-seeded Notre Dame in their ACC Championship opener Thursday at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College in Rome, Ga.
The Cardinals (21-8) will face second-seeded and third-ranked Virginia in the quarterfinals Friday at 10 a.m.
“Wow! I have been lucky to be a part of all of the Notre Dame versus Louisville classics but this one is hard to beat,” said UofL men’s tennis coach Rex Ecarma. “A college tennis writer once wrote that the Irish vs. Cardinals is one of the best rivalries in our sport.”
Louisville opened the match by taking the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. Morin-Kougoucheff and sophomore George Hedley gave the Cardinals an early edge by beating Matt Gamble and Alex Lebedev 6-2 at the three-spot and the 31st-ranked duo of senior Sean Donohue and freshman Parker Wynn secured the point with a 6-2 victory over No. 32. Hagar and Eddy Covalschi at No. 1.
“The boys did a great job in controlling the doubles point with making very few errors,” said Ecarma. “That has been our doubles focus-to be extraordinary at the ordinary.”
In singles action, the Irish (13-13) evened the score on court four where Guillermo Cabrera defeated Hedley 6-2, 6-1. The Cardinals pulled back ahead 2-1 with Wynn’s 6-4, 6-1 decision against Lebedev at the two-spot. Notre Dame countered with a win at No. 3 when Covalschi beat junior Nicolas Rouanet 6-4, 6-2 to tie the match.
On court four, sophomore Brandon Lancaster defeated Gamble 6-2 in the first set, but the Notre Dame player took the second by a score of 7-5. Lancaster eventually prevailed 7-5 in the third set to put the Cards back on top 3-2.
“Brandon was down in a deep pit with his score 1-5 match point,” said Ecarma. “He hit a forehand return winner then changed his game plan and reeled off six straight games. He was so tough!”
Soon after Louisville regained the lead, the Irish evened the score again when Grayson Broadus defeated freshman Clement Filho 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6.
The match came down to court one where Morin-Kougoucheff outlasted Hagar in a marathon first set 7-6 (11-9) in a marathon first set. Hagar won the second set 6-3 to force a third set, the majority of which was played with the match tied at 3-3. Koughoucheff jumped to a 2-0 lead and went on to win 6-3 to clinch the match.
“Parker won some big points in the first set then finished strong,” said Ecarma. “Then the final three matches were in their finals sets. I thought, ‘typical UofL and UND match.’ 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.”
No. 43 Louisville 4 – No. 42 Notre Dame 3
April 27, 2017
Rome Tennis Complex | Rome, Ga.
1 – Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff (UL) d. #48 Josh Hagar (ND)
2 – Parker Wynn (UL) d. Alex Lebedev (ND) 6-4, 6-1
3 – Eddy Covalschi (ND) d. Nicolas Rouanet (UL) 6-4, 6-2
4 – Guillermo Cabrera (ND) d. George Hedley (UL) 6-2, 6-1
5 – Brandon Lancaster (UL) d. Matt Gamble (ND) 6-2, 5-7, 7-5
6 – Grayson Broadus (ND) d. Clement Filho (UL) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: 4, 2, 3, 5, 6, 1
1 – #31 Donohue/Wynn (UL) d. #32 Hagar/Covalschi (ND) 6-2
2 –Broadus/ Kempin (ND) vs. Rouanet/Ciro Lampasas (UL) 5-2, DNF
3 –Kougoucheff (UL)/Hedley d. Gamble/Lebedev 6-2
Order of finish: 3, 1
Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisville Athletics