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Men’s Tennis

Irish ready for inaugural ACC home match

| Friday, February 28, 2014

Notre Dame will make its home ACC debut tonight against Virginia Tech at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

The No. 6 Irish (10-3, 0-1 ACC) hope to regain their footing after two weeks marked by narrow 4-2 losses against defending national champion Virginia and top-ranked Ohio State.

The No. 44 Hokies (7-3, 1-0) enter the matchup with four wins in their last five matches. This is the first time they have faced the Irish as members of the ACC.

“It is all about how you compete,” Irish coach Ryan Sachire said. “The mental difference is what allows you to win these close matchups, and we have a great opportunity to show that against Virginia Tech this weekend.”

Irish senior Ryan Bandy prepares to strike a forehand shot in Notre Dame's 4-3 win over Kentucky on Feb. 2.Michael Yu

Irish senior Ryan Bandy prepares to strike a forehand shot in Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Kentucky on Feb. 2.

This is the second consecutive weekend the Irish have played at home. The Buckeyes came from behind and won four consecutive points on Saturday to secure victory in front of an Irish crowd that was over 400 strong. Notre Dame, however, was able to secure a 4-0 victory that same day over Ball State.

“It is not easy playing at this level of competition on a weekly basis,” Sachire said. “The last few years we have really put an emphasis on recruiting a combination of talent and character. Our guys are pushed to the limit on many levels and it is important that they can handle that pressure.”

The match against the Hokies provides an opportunity for the Irish to regain momentum as they enter the second half of their campaign.  Whether victorious or not, Notre Dame will have to refocus quickly. The Irish have a rematch at the Cavaliers (6-1, 1-0) on Sunday.

“Our approach is the same whether we are playing the top-ranked team or an unranked team,” Sachire said. “One thing we emphasize as a program is that the process is the same no matter who we are facing. You have to bring energy and consistency to win any match.”

After Sunday’s matchup, Notre Dame will be out of action for nearly two weeks before it ventures to Los Angeles to play USC on March 14. The match against the Hokies will be the last home match for Notre Dame until March 28, when the Irish host ACC foe Duke.

The Irish face Virginia Tech at 6 p.m. tonight and Virginia at noon on Sunday.

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About Henry Hilliard

Henry is from Kansas City, lives in O'Neill Hall and is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Business Economics. He covers Men's Tennis and Men's Swimming and Diving for the Observer.

Contact Henry