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Men’s Tennis: Layoff ends with clash against Buckeyes in Columbus

Andrew Owens | Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Facing Ohio State following a nine-day layoff, the No. 28 Irish will attempt to shake off any rust from the time off and knock off the No. 3 Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio, today.

Before the layoff, Notre Dame (15-8) had won seven of its last eight matches, including a 7-0 victory over IUPUI on April 3. Playing its best tennis of the season over that stretch, Notre Dame earned a 5-2 win over then-No. 6 Illinois.

“We’ve had an eight or nine day break and we’ve taken the opportunity to get our legs underneath us,” Irish associate head coach Ryan Sachire said. “We had a really good week of practice and were able to address personal needs and clean up some things before this match.”

Ohio State (22-2) enters the contest riding a seven-match winning streak and has not dropped a match at home on the season, sporting an unblemished 13-0 mark.

“We need to be back in the competition mindset,” Sachire said. “[Ohio State] is deep and is one of the best teams in the country. They’re strong at all six positions and have really good doubles teams.”

Despite the accolades of the Buckeyes players, Sachire said his players will not be fazed when they take the court this afternoon.

“We feel like we’re good too,” he said. “We’re ready to compete, and we need to take advantage of the chances we get. We’re coming down [to Columbus] to win and we’re going to give it our best.”

Junior Casey Watt, the No. 1 singles player, is also a solid doubles contributor and looks to lead Notre Dame against the Buckeyes. He will match up against junior Chase Buchanan, the No. 14 overall player in the nation. In his last contest, Buchanan won a hard fought three-set decision against Michigan’s Evan King, the No. 21 ranked player in the country.

Following today’s match, the Irish will have only one match remaining on their regular season docket in 2011 — a trip to Louisville April 23.

The Irish and the Buckeyes face off in a battle of college tennis heavyweights today at 4 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio.