Irish prepare for Midwest Regional
Manuel De Jesus | Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Notre Dame travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete in the Midwest Regional Championships on Thursday after a full week of rest.A staple on Notre Dame’s schedule, the regional championships offer an automatic bid to the national championships for the winners of each bracket.
Last season, Notre Dame was successful in both singles and doubles competition. Former player Greg Andrews led the Irish to an appearance in the finals of both brackets, pairing with now-junior Alex Lawson in doubles play. Notre Dame did not claim a title in either the singles or doubles finals, however, losing both to players from Ohio State.
This year’s team also has players who could advance, junior Eric Schnurrenberger said.
“We play the regionals tournament every year in the fall; therefore, we are pretty familiar with it,” he said. “It is always a lot of fun because the whole team is together and gets to compete in singles and doubles. I think we have a lot of guys who could make the quarterfinals or even farther.”
At the most recent competition, the ITA All-American Championships, junior Quentin Monaghan reached the round of 32 in singles play and the No. 27 duo of senior Billy Pecor and Lawson advanced to the semifinals of the doubles draw.
Junior Kenneth Sabacinski and sophomore Josh Hagar participated in the Championships as well, finishing a combined 2-2 at the tournament. Since then, Schnurrenberger said coach Ryan Sachire has pushed the team an extra notch in practice to prepare for the regional tournament.
“I think that every player was able to improve certain areas since the last tournament,” Schnurrenberger said. “The intensity of our practices has been higher the last couple days than before, so I am convinced that this will also manifest itself positively in this upcoming tournament.”
Schnurrenberger said Sachire wants the Irish to continue improving their individual fundamentals before they start their ACC schedule at the beginning of next year.
“Coach told us that this is another tournament in our process of becoming the best players we can possibly be, and we should take this tournament as an opportunity to get better and to show the results of our hard practice on the court,” Schnurrenberger said. “All of our coaches emphasized high energy and enthusiasm in practice those last couple of days and weeks, and this kind of positive energy is also what they expect us to bring at regionals.”
Schnurrenberger will enter the tournament trying to improve on last year’s performance when he advanced to the main draw of singles play but lost in the first round.
Monaghan enters the tournament on a hot streak, having best three ranked opponents in the fall season. At the All-American championships, he finished with a 4-1 record. Last season, he advanced to the quarterfinals of the regional championships.
Notre Dame aims to continue refining its play at the Midwest Regional Championships. The tournament begins Thursday and runs through Oct. 20.