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ND prepares to face Demon Deacons, Hokies

| Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Notre Dame hits the road this weekend for a pair of conference matches, first heading to meet up with Wake Forest on Friday followed by a Sunday matchup with Virginia Tech.

The Irish (12-6, 6-3 ACC) are coming off a pair of wins at Eck Tennis Pavilion this past weekend, when they cruised to a 6-1 victory over ACC foe North Carolina State on Friday before sweeping their individual matches against Marquette on Sunday en route to a 7-0 victory.

Given that both matches ended in decisive wins for his team, Irish head coach Jay Louderback said he was very pleased with his team’s performance, particularly in the singles matches.

“The thing that was really good was to see our singles play really well,” Louderback said. “I mean, our doubles have been good all year, and we’ve had a lot of matches where we win the doubles point and then win just three singles [points] to win those types of matches. It was good to see the singles play well. We thought we could win both matches, but it was nice to see us win easier than we thought it would be.”

Now, as the Irish prepare to take to the road for their next two conference matchups, Louderback said he expects both teams to present a challenge, especially on the road. First, the team will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Friday to take on the Demon Deacons (12-9, 2-7). Wake Forest has lost each of its last three conference matches by the score of 7-0 but also holds a record of 9-4 in home matches. Louderback said he believes the Demon Deacons will present yet another tough conference match for the Irish on Friday.

“Wake [Forest] has struggled [in conference play], but they’re good,” Louderback said. “They’re good enough to beat a lot of teams. Especially with us on the road, I feel like they’ll be tough.”

Notre Dame will then play its second match of the weekend Sunday when it travel to Blacksburg, Virginia, to battle the Hokies (12-5, 4-4). The Hokies are strong on their courts, boasting a 10-0 home record on the year and are coming off a 4-3 victory over No. 16 Miami this past Sunday. Louderback said he and the team expect a tough match Sunday.

“Virginia Tech has been up and down [this season],” Louderback said. “They just had a great win over Miami, and Miami had beaten Virginia two days earlier, and Virginia was top 10. For Virginia Tech to get that win was big for them, so we got to be ready for them. The thing for Virginia Tech against Miami was that they won four singles matches and one at the top [of the singles lineup], so we know they’re going to be tough.”

One advantage Louderback said he believes the team will have this weekend is both matches are expected to be outdoors, weather permitting. He said his team excels when playing outdoor tennis.

“We’re hoping we’ll get to play both teams outdoors,” Louderback said. “I feel like we’re better when we’re outdoors, so we’re hoping we get good weather. [Virginia Tech] is especially good indoors at their place, so we’re hoping we can get them outside.”

The Irish will take to the courts Friday at 12 p.m. when they take on Wake Forest at Wake Forest Tennis Center, followed by the matchup with Virginia Tech at Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center on Sunday at 12 p.m.

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About Benjamin Padanilam

Ben is a senior and The Observer’s former Editor-in-Chief, now serving as its interim Sports Editor. He is in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and also pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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