Notre Dame topples Clemson, Georgia Tech
Greg Hadley | Monday, March 24, 2014
After a rough start to March, No. 11 Notre Dame flipped the script and dominated indoors and out over the weekend, picking up wins over No. 20 Clemson and Georgia Tech on the road.
The Irish (13-5, 3-2 ACC) began the month with a 6-1 loss to No. 7 Virginia, then came out flat against No. 4 USC over spring break, where they were swept 7-0 for the first time this season.
Against the Tigers (16-3, 3-1) on Friday, the Irish quickly fell behind, dropping the first two points of the match, before storming back to claim the 5-2 victory. Irish coach Ryan Sachire said the win was especially encouraging because the team played well outdoors after failing to do so against USC.
“The USC match was a good thing for us,” Sachire said. “It helped us realize some things about ourselves that we needed to work on. In practice we worked on being more patient when we needed to be outdoors and really focused on point construction. … We’re just as good outdoors as we are indoors.”
The match with the Yellow Jackets (7-7, 1-3) on Sunday was moved indoors, but the Irish grabbed the doubles point and never looked back, surrendering just one singles point for a 6-1 win.
“[Against Georgia Tech], we actually wanted to play outdoors,” Sachire said. “We just did a great job of battling through.”
Irish senior Greg Andrews led the way in both contests, taking both of his singles matches in straight sets. Against Clemson, Andrews took down junior Hunter Harrington, ranked 90th in the nation. While he and sophomore Alex Lawson dropped their first doubles match against Clemson, they recovered against Georgia Tech for an 8-6 win. For the No. 28 player in the nation, it was a welcome return to form after tough individual losses against Virginia and USC, Sachire said.
“It was great to see Greg get those wins this weekend,” he said. “He’s had some ups and downs this season, but he’s done a heck of a job remaining positive and working hard. He’s poised to have a great few last months of his career, and it was nice to see him bounce back and beat two good players very easily.”
Andrews’ fellow senior, Ryan Bandy, also played a key role in the Irish victories. Playing at the No. 3 spot for Notre Dame, Bandy forced tiebreakers in both matches, pulling out wins by the scores of 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 1-0 (10-8) against Clemson junior Alejandro Augusto and 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 11-9 against Georgia Tech freshman Carlos Benito.“Ryan’s doing a great job for us,” Sachire said. “He’s a senior who’s done things the right way for a long time, and it’s nice to see him get that payoff. He won two great matches against two really good players. It was about him competing and doing the things he had to do and, as a coach, there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing a guy like him succeed.”
With the wins, Notre Dame pushes its way up to seventh place in the ACC, while Clemson falls to fourth.
The Irish return home for a pivotal ACC matchup with No. 13 Duke on Friday at 3:30 p.m.