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Men’s Tennis

Notre Dame upset by Georgia Tech at ACC tournament

| Monday, April 27, 2015

Notre Dame’s stay in the ACC championships started and ended Thursday, as the Irish fell to Georgia Tech, 4-0, in the first round in Cary, North Carolina.

The 10th-seeded Yellow Jackets (14-12, 4-8 ACC) earned the doubles point to start the match, winning the Nos. 1 and 2 flights over seventh-seeded Notre Dame (14-11, 6-6).

Senior Billy Pecor hits a backhand during Notre Dame’s 4-3 victory against North Carolina State on April 18 at Courtney Tennis Center. Emily McConville | The Observer

Senior Billy Pecor hits a backhand during Notre Dame’s 4-3 victory against North Carolina State on April 18 at Courtney Tennis Center.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said his team didn’t perform up to his standards in the match.

“We didn’t play very well,” Sachire said. “Give Georgia Tech a lot of credit — they played a great match. Their win over us was sandwiched between wins over Duke and Virginia Tech, so they were clearly playing some good tennis, but we didn’t do what we needed to do to be successful in the match. We’re clearly disappointed in the outcome, but the beautiful thing about our situation now is that we have one more opportunity to make it right.”

In singles, Georgia Tech dominated Notre Dame’s bottom three singles starters, winning in straight sets at the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 spots.

Yellow Jackets sophomore Cole Fiegel won at No. 5 singles, defeating Irish senior Billy Pecor, 6-0, 6-3, before senior Eduardo Segura put Georgia Tech on the cusp of a win with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Irish junior Kenneth Sabacinski at No. 6 singles.

Freshman Michael Kay sealed the deal, defeating Notre Dame junior Alex Lawson, 7-5, 6-2, to complete the upset victory.

Georgia Tech came into the match the lower seed, but the Yellow Jackets faced Notre Dame on the heels of an upset against No. 9 Duke in their regular-season finale.

Despite Notre Dame’s decisive 6-1 victory in the first meeting between the two teams, Georgia Tech shut down the Irish and sent them home from the ACC tournament without a single match win. Following their victory over the Irish, the Yellow Jackets upset second-seeded Virginia Tech on Friday before falling to Wake Forest in the semifinals.

“Make no mistake, Georgia Tech’s a good team,” said Sachire. “Like I said, they had the capability to beat Duke and Virginia Tech, so it’s not a surprise that they were good enough, skilled enough and talented enough to beat us. I think the difference in both of our matches with them were some pretty key points early on in doubles and the first couple of games early on in singles. The first time we played them, we were able to be successful in those key moments, and I think the same thing can be said in reverse this time around.”

Following the loss to the Yellow Jackets, Notre Dame will await the announcement of the NCAA tournament field Tuesday evening.

“We’re focused on our preparation,” said Sachire. “We’re not worried about who we play, where we play, when we play, but more making sure we’re the best Notre Dame tennis team we can be going into the tournament.”

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