Irish return home against Clemson
Ryan Klaus | Friday, April 10, 2015
Notre Dame returns home Friday for the first time since March 22 when it takes on Clemson to kick off a regular season-ending homestand.
The Irish (12-9, 4-5 ACC) finished their four-game road trip Sunday on the wrong side of a 5-2 decision against No. 16 North Carolina. After winning their first matches against Miami and Florida State, the Irish dropped their final two matches of the trip to No. 6 Duke and North Carolina.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said. “The last two matches were both losses, but those were both against top-level opponents.”
Following the loss to North Carolina, Notre Dame will play its final three regular season matches at home. After Clemson (10-13, 1-8), Notre Dame will meet up with Wake Forest on April 17 and North Carolina State on April 18.
The first home match of the Notre Dame’s final three-game stretch comes against a Clemson team amidst one of its toughest stretches of the season. The Tigers have lost five straight matches, the last four of which were at home. Their most recent defeat was a 6-1 loss to Wake Forest last Sunday.
“Clemson’s a really good opponent,” said Sachire. “We played them twice last year. They may not be doing as well right now, but they were a top-20 team last year, and many of those guys are still on the team this year.”
Notre Dame’s most notable player this season, junior Quentin Monaghan, picked up consecutive victories over top-15 singles opponents to end Notre Dame’s road trip. Monaghan was ranked 10th when this week’s rankings were announced, the highest a Notre Dame singles player has been ranked all year. The junior is riding a 10-match winning streak and will seek his 11th consecutive win against the top singles player for the Tigers, presumably senior Alejandro Augusto.
Outside of Monaghan, Sachire said he has been particularly impressed with the recent play of junior Alex Lawson and sophomore Josh Hagar.
“Alex Lawson has played particularly well lately. At the beginning of the year he wasn’t finishing matches, but lately, he has done a good job of doing that and performing well overall,” said Sachire. “It might not look like it on paper, but Josh Hagar had a great weekend as well and has really improved a lot in recent weeks.”
Heading into the match Friday, Notre Dame’s 4-5 conference record has it currently in eighth place in ACC standings. Clemson comes into the contest in 12th, ahead of only Boston College.
The match between the Tigers and Irish is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Courtney Tennis Center.