Irish to host Panthers, Hokies
Henry Hilliard | Thursday, November 6, 2014
After losing to Purdue at home last weekend, the Irish welcome two more opponents to Rolfs Aquatic Center as they continue their regular season schedule.
Notre Dame (1-1) hosts a tri-meet against ACC opponents Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, split between tonight and tomorrow morning.
“We need to improve this weekend — these are both winnable matches, just like last weekend was a winnable match, but we need to clean it against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech,” Irish coach Matt Tallman said.
After a fast start in the annual Dennis Stark relays Oct. 10, in which Notre Dame won, 240-140, it stumbled in its meet against Purdue last weekend. The 161-139 loss was the first for Tallman in his inaugural year at the helm of the program after replacing longtime Irish coach Tim Welsh over the summer.
“The transition has been seamless,” Tallman said. “Having Coach Welsh around to help with the women’s team has made the switch even easier because we have him as a resource. I have coached three of these classes and helped recruit the whole team, so this has been a natural transition.”
Despite the narrow loss, Notre Dame logged several top times for the young season. The 200-yard medley relay team of junior Bogac Ayhan, senior Cameron Miller, freshman Justin Plaschka and senior Zach Stephens claimed first place, finishing in 1:30.72. Freshman Benjamin Jany also claimed first in the 500-yard freestyle.
“We swam well last weekend, but we can always to better on the margins,” Tallman said. “I want every guy to come out of the water in these meets and be able to say they did everything they could in the pool. My goal is for us to be sharper from top to bottom.”
Pittsburgh (3-1) travels to Notre Dame on two weeks’ rest after besting Bucknell, 185.5-109.5, on Oct. 25. The Panthers’ showed off their depth in that meet, beating the Bison in 28 of 32 events in the meet.
The Hokies (3-1) also enter the meet coming off a victory, topping Duke on Sunday, 180-115. Unlike both Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, the Irish have yet to face a conference opponent.
“ACC is competition is valuable for us because it allows us to size up the competition for later in the season. It is good for our guys to swim against guys that they will face later,” Tallman said.
This weekend’s tri-meet will be the final time that Notre Dame hosts competition in 2014. The team will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, next weekend for a dual meet against Michigan State, and it does not have a home meet until the Shamrock Invitational on Jan. 30-31.
“Swimming at home is definitely easier,” Tallman said. “I would not say that we necessarily swim better in this pool but having the crowd and not having to travel are obvious advantages.”
The Irish take on the Panthers and the Hokies tonight at 5 p.m. and tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Rolfs Aquatic Center.