Irish top Big Ten rival Michigan
Joe Everett | Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Notre Dame put forth a strong performance Saturday afternoon, dominating rival Michigan by a score of 6-1. Now winners of three straight matches, the Irish (5-4) knocked off the Wolverines (5-2), who came into Eck Tennis Pavilion fresh off a five-match winning streak, including a 7-0 thrashing of No. 25 Duke the previous Sunday. Considering the trouble the Irish have had against top competition, head coach Ryan Sachire said the victory against Michigan was a big one.
“It was certainly the best match we’ve played this season,” Sachire said. “I think the level of competition that we’ve played at earlier in the year definitely showed, because anytime Michigan went on a run, we were able to respond.”
Looking to spark the team, Sachire did some shuffling in the lineup for the Irish, breaking up the nationally ranked doubles tandem of senior standouts Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan and placing them with junior Eddy Covalschi and freshman Grayson Broadus, respectively. The reshuffled doubles tandem is an experiment of Sachire’s, and one that has garnered positive results so far as the Irish started the match by capturing the doubles point with their new lineup.
“The purpose was to inject some confidence into the other guys,” Sachire said. “Putting Eddy with Alex at the number one has been great, as [Eddy] has gotten a great shot of confidence. I think it’s really helped Grayson a lot as well, putting him with a senior like Quentin, and that confidence has really translated to his singles game as well.”
The shuffling of the doubles tandems has had a ripple effect on the players’ singles game as well, as Covalschi defeated Michigan redshirt-sophomore Davis Crocker 6-0, 6-1, while Broadus closed the match with a strong singles performance, showing poise in a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Michigan freshman Myles Schalet. Monaghan, junior Josh Hagar, and senior Eric Schnurrenberger also picked up victories in the singles portion of the match.
With the win, the Irish moved above .500 for the first time since the second week of the season. After suffering a four-match losing streak earlier in the season, Sachire says he’s seeing a lot of resilience from his team.
“Our guys work hard,” Sachire said. “It was tough sledding early on in the season, but our guys bounced back and worked harder than ever. Michigan is safe to say a top-25 team, so to walk away with a 6-1 win is a huge confidence boost for our guys. We’re trending upwards.”
The Irish will next see action this Saturday, hosting Kentucky and Western Michigan at Eck Tennis Pavilion.