Irish split weekend matches in Chapel Hill
Michael Ivey | Monday, January 30, 2017
Notre Dame spent the weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, competing in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
The Irish (2-2) dropped a 4-0 decision to conference-foe North Carolina on Friday but bounced back to win 4-1 over Penn State on Saturday.
On Friday against North Carolina, senior Josh Hagar dropped a close decision, 7-6(4), 6-4. Three of the six singles matches ended unfinished.
In the doubles competition, the N0. 3 doubles pair of sophomore Grayson Broadus and junior Brendon Kempin earned a 6-4 victory in their match.
On Saturday, the Irish were led by singles wins from Hagar, Broadus, sophomore Alex Lebedev, freshman Guillermo Cabrera and freshman Matt Gamble.
In the doubles competition, the first doubles pair of senior Eddy Covalschi/Hagar won a 7-5 decision. Broadus/Kempin finished strong weekends by winning their match 6-2.
Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said he can see his team gradually improving week-by-week, even in the young season.
“I think we’ve gotten a little better every match, which is really positive,” Sachire said. “Dating back to last weekend too, I think we’re getting better. We have a lot of new guys and I think we are starting to form an identity as a team, which is what you want. Also, our younger guys are getting some more comfort in the flow of a dual match and how it goes and what to expect. Our goal going forward is to get better and better every match we play and build on the pretty solid start we’ve had.”
Sachire said his team will work on improving how it closes out matches, along with some individual work.
“It’s different for each guy, which makes it hard,” Sachire said. “But there are clearly some areas of improvement. I think one specific one is being more confident in closing out sets and closing out matches. We played well and won on Saturday, but that was one thing that was not great. We served for a lot of sets and ended up getting broken and ended up having to play a longer set than maybe we could have. So the next time we are in that position, we want just a little more confidence and a little more aggression so we can close out sets on a much normal basis.”
Sachire said the performances from Lebedev, Broadus and Kempin stood out to him this weekend.
“Alex Lebedev did a great job,” Sachire said. “He went 2-0 in singles and played well. Also our team that played third doubles, which was Grayson Broadus and Brendon Kempin, went 2-0 as well and really brought a ton of energy to our team and did a great job in their matches.”
The Irish will be back in action this Saturday when they host a doubleheader against Monmouth and William & Mary at Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Sachire said after his team takes a rest period, they will get to work preparing for the double header on Saturday.
“The first thing is we are going to take a couple of days here to recover,” Sachire said. “It’s been a pretty tough start to the season in the sense of playing competitive matches right away. We’ve traveled the last two days as well, so the first thing is to take these next couple of days and sort of get back to neutral so to speak and get healthy and rested. Then once we get back on the court practicing, it’s going to be about being very specific with each guy about what he needs to work on and try to be as precise in our practices as we can be.”