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Men’s Tennis: Irish try to bounce back with road victory against familiar foe

Andrew Owens | Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It is inevitable that any athletic team will have to fight through adversity during the course of a long season. For the Irish, that time is now.

Following a weekend split against Duke and Toledo, Notre Dame (3-2) will look to bounce back tonight when it visits Wisconsin.

The Badgers (2-2) lost both matches last weekend in an ITA tournament. They have had a week to rest and prepare for the Irish. Notre Dame, meanwhile, will be playing its third match in three days when it takes on the Badgers.

“We’re in good shape,” Irish associate head coach Ryan Sachire said. “This isn’t going to be too much for us.”

Sachire credits the strength and conditioning program that has been implemented for the success the Irish have had traditionally throughout a long season.

“Chris Sandeen is a great strength and conditioning coach,” Sachire said. “We do a good job preparing both our bodies and minds.”

Wisconsin and Notre Dame have not been strangers during the past several seasons. Last year, the Badgers eliminated the Irish in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“They’re a good team,” Sachire said. “They beat us 4-2 last year, but almost every other time it has been 4-3. The results between the teams have been pretty even historically.”

The Irish have dropped two of the last three matches, with the 7-0 victory over Toledo the only win during that span. The two losses each came against elite talent — No. 16 Illinois last weekend and No. 14 Duke on Sunday.

The Blue Devils topped the Irish 5-2 after falling behind early. Both Notre Dame victories came in doubles play.

“We didn’t play our best and we need to play our best to beat Wisconsin,” Sachire said. “We need to adjust to going on the road and handle the environment.”

The Irish will face Wisconsin at 5:00 p.m. this evening before preparing for a weekend doubleheader against Marquette and Michigan State.