Notre Dame travels to Northwestern
Jackie Brebeck | Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Coming off a close 4-3 loss to No. 23 Tulsa last Sunday, Notre Dame will look to rebound against a team of a similar caliber Friday, when it visits No. 21 Northwestern.
The senior duo of Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson won key matches to keep the Irish (2-2) in tight competition with the Golden Hurricane last week; however, the rest of their teammates were unable to get the required results to get the win. Monaghan and Lawson were the only winners in the singles flights, as junior Eddy Covalschi’s three-set defeat at No. 2 sealed Notre Dame’s fate.
With respect to his team’s recent defeat, Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said failing to execute the simple parts of the game kept Notre Dame from getting a win against Tulsa.
“We ultimately gave away too many cheap, easy points in some of the matches that we lost, and that’s what cost us the game,” Sachire said.
After tasting two defeats last weekend — the Tulsa one followed a 4-0 loss to No. 7 Illinois — Sachire said the Irish have bene working on their offensive game this week in preparation for the Wildcats (3-1).
“Our practices have been focused on emphasizing the concept of sustaining offense in how [they] play, but doing it in a way that is repeatable and low risk,” Sachire said. “[We’ve been] doing a lot with serves and returns, ultimately trying to improve [their] fundamentals.”
Avoiding giving away easy points is going to be especially important for Notre Dame, as its schedule is full of games against opponents of a similar caliber; the Irish slot 35th in the latest ITA rankings. Instead of seeing this as daunting, Sachire said he sees this as a “beautiful” schedule that is full of challenges.
“[There are] a tremendous amount of significant opportunities throughout the course of the season,” Sachire said. “ … We’re intent on improving every day and staying true to the process of being successful. We know that if we can do this well, we will be in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.”
The Irish have one of those opportunities this Friday as they travel to Evanston, Illinois, to face the ranked Wildcats, with the first serve scheduled for 7 p.m.
“Our match on Friday against Northwestern will be a really, really competitive affair, and we are looking forward to it,” Sachire said. “Our last several contests against them have been extremely close, and we are expecting the same this time around, too.
“[Northwestern] has a darn good team, and our guys are fired up for the challenge.”