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Men’s Tennis: Irish to open spring season against Virginia, William & Mary

Andrew Owens | Friday, January 21, 2011

The Irish will kick off the spring half of their season this weekend when they take on William & Mary Saturday and Virginia Sunday in team play.

Irish associate coach Ryan Sachire said the squad put an emphasis on strong conditioning over break to remain in position to win another Big East title and qualify for another NCAA tournament.

“Our team came back fit and in-shape,” Sachire said. “Strength and conditioning coach Chris Sandeen did a great job giving them a program to follow over the break.”

Sachire noted, however, a program such as the one Sandeen developed will only go as far as the players take it.

“Some players did tournaments over break to stay in match shape,” he said. “Otherwise they would have had two-and-a-half months off from match play like most teams have. It’s important to keep the match toughness that was developed during the fall season.”

William & Mary is not a new opponent for Notre Dame, as the two teams met in early November at the William & Mary Invitational. Senior Stephen Havens and freshman Billy Pecor were named to the all-tournament team at the event.

Now that the fall season is over and the spring season is just getting started, the Irish shift their focus to achieving success in the Big East and qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

“It’s a long season. The NCAA trophy and the Big East trophy aren’t handed out until May,” Sachire said. “We need to keep an even keel and not get too high or too low during the next few months. We need to avoid getting shaken or too cocky. If any team can do that, we can. Hopefully we will be playing our best team tennis in May.”

Saturday’s matches begin at 10 a.m., while Sunday’s events begin at noon. The two matches will be the first in a string of events for the Irish, who will also compete in the National Team Indoor Championships in February.