Notre Dame prepares to host three teams over weekend
Michael Ivey | Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Notre Dame is set to face off against Boston College this Saturday at Eck Tennis Pavilion before hosting a nonconference doubleheader against No. 17 Illinois and Detroit on Sunday.
The Irish (4-2) will open up ACC conference play against the Eagles (1-2), which Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said is important because starting the conference schedule off with a win builds early momentum, just as a win over the Illini (2-2) would.
“These will be significant matches,” Sachire said of the weekend. “Boston College will be our first ACC match of the year that will count for our league standings, so we certainly want to get off to a good start. Illinois is a traditional rival of ours. They’re a consistent top-15 program year in and year out. They’re that same level this year, and I think that’s a huge opportunity for us as well.”
Sachire said the three teams Notre Dame will face this weekend are quality teams, and his team will need to be at its best to come away with wins.
“The Illinois match is one where we have a lot of respect for their program,” Sachire said. “Their coaches do a very good job, [and] they have very talented players. We know we’re going to need to play a very good match in order to win, but we’re looking forward to that challenge for sure.”
The Irish are coming off of back-to-back 7-0 sweeps against Monmouth and William & Mary this past weekend. With that momentum, the Irish will look to rest before their busy weekend, Sachire said, because it is important to prep and play the same way for every opponent on the schedule, which is a mentality Sachire hopes will resonate with his players.
“The first thing is we’re going to make sure of is that every guy who is banged up a little bit — we’re going to make sure they rest early this week and try to be as healthy as we can be once we begin our preparation for the weekend,” Sachire said. “I think the one thing our guys did a great job of this past weekend was — we didn’t play teams with the name value of a North Carolina or Kentucky like we did earlier in the year, and sometimes you don’t have the same amount of focus you do when you know you’re playing a great team. We’ve tried to instill in our guys that no matter who they’re playing against or no matter the situation, we’re going to go out and play our best and not let our opponent dictate our focus and energy, but we’re going to play how we play.
“Whether we’re playing Boston College or Illinois or whoever, we’re going to go out and play our best. It starts with being healthy, so we’re going to recover here these next couple of days, and then once we get back to practicing and really get after it, we’ll try to peak for the weekend and have the goal to be our absolute best team this Saturday and Sunday.”
Notre Dame will first square off Boston College at noon Saturday before hosting Illinois at noon and Detroit at 5 p.m. Sunday.