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Men’s Tennis

Notre Dame regroups to travel to Alabama tournament

| Friday, September 25, 2015

The fall season is in full swing for the Irish as they travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the Crimson Tide Four-in-the-Fall tournament starting Friday and ending Sunday.

Notre Dame is coming off a busy weekend of tournaments throughout the country, and now heads to Tuscaloosa as a squad in search of an early season victory.

Competing in the Duke James Bonk Invitational in Cary, North Carolina, the Ivy Plus Tournament in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Oracle/ITA Masters in Malibu, California, simultaneously, the Irish were stretched thin last week, but they still achieved some level of success nonetheless.

Senior Quentin Monaghan winds up for a hit during a 4-3 victory over North Carolina State on April 18 at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Emily McConville | The Observer

Senior Quentin Monaghan winds up for a hit during a 4-3 victory over North Carolina State on April 18 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Junior Eddy Covalschi claimed third place in the White Draw at Duke last weekend, the best finish out of the 10 Irish players who played in North Carolina.

Another six Notre Dame players, meanwhile, traveled to Princeton and had mixed results in their matchups against Ivy League opponents.

Seniors Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson, kicking off the season ranked the No. 28 doubles team in the nation, competed in Malibu and pulled off a big upset in their defeat of the No. 4 tandem LSU senior Boris Arias and junior Jordan Daigle (6-4, 3-6, 11-9) on Friday but lost to a Pepperdine duo in the Saturday semifinal.

Now the Irish turn their attention to the competition they will face in Alabama, which will include players from Columbia, South Florida and Memphis and host Alabama.

Unlike last weekend, the team will travel together to Tuscaloosa for the most part, according to Irish head coach Ryan Sachire.

“Ten of our 13 guys will be traveling, so three will stay behind,” Sachire said. “The way we do the fall tournament schedule is that its more individualized. It’s not based talent level, really. We think even the three guys we’re leaving behind will have a chance to contribute in big ways for us in the spring.”

The fall and spring schedules for the Irish are quite different. The eight-tournament fall schedule is designed to prepare the team for the more rigorous 24-tournament spring that includes 12 ACC faceoffs.

But that doesn’t mean the fall schedule is less important, said Sachire.

“I think two big goals for us this fall is, first, to continue each player’s development and to make sure we provide opportunities for improvement for all our players,” Sachire said. “Every guy on our team has an opportunity to contribute in the spring. Second, and probably more important, is to continue our team development. Even though tennis is an individual sport, we also know that we want to have a strong team connection, which will pay huge dividends in the spring for us. Team building and camaraderie are huge things we want to work on this fall.”

In terms of the fall schedule, this weekend is an important one for Notre Dame. Less than a week after the Crimson Tide Four-in-the-Fall tournament concludes, the team will begin the process of qualifying for the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Nevertheless, Sachire said he wants to keep the focus off of individual players and instead on team development.

“Obviously we want to have our guys compete hard and do the right things,” Sachire said. “We certainly want to go down and win as many matches as we can. What I’m looking for is for our guys to compete and to fight through the pressure moments. If we do the right things, we believe success is going to come.”

The Irish begin their quest for their first tournament championship of the year Friday when they kick off the three-day Crimson Tide Four-in-the-Fall tournament in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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