Irish unable to halt slide against Wildcats
Joe Everett | Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Notre Dame lost a third straight match Friday, dropping a 6-1 decision against No. 21 Northwestern at Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Illinois.
The Irish (2-3) got their lone win from senior Eric Schnurrenberger, who posted a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Wildcats junior Fedor Baev at No. 4 singles. However, Schnurrenberger’s win was the lone bright spot for Notre Dame during an otherwise dominating day for the Wildcats (4-1), who jumped out to an easy doubles win and never looked back. The slow start by the Irish hurt the team the most Friday, head coach Ryan Sachire said.
“We did not get off to the start we needed to, starting with the doubles match but also several of our early singles matches,” Sachire said. “I think for the most part guys finished matches better than they started them — we need to initiate our confidence and competitiveness early on.”
The Wildcats quickly picked up the doubles point, coasting to easy wins on Courts 2 and 3. Northwestern juniors Konrad Zieba and Sam Shropshire defeated Irish juniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar, 6-2, at No. 2, while senior Mihir Kumar and junior Alp Horoz defeated Irish freshman Grayson Broadus and Schnurrenberger, 6-1.
Northwestern took a 2-0 lead when the 50th-ranked Shropshire defeated Covalschi 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 singles. Shortly after, the Wildcats clinched the win with back-to-back decisions at No. 6 and No. 3 singles. Broadus fell to Northwestern freshman Ben Vandixhorn 6-4, 6-3, while junior Strong Kirchheimer secured Northwestern’s win with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Notre Dame senior Alex Lawson.
Sachire said the Irish will have to keep on working out their individual and collective problem areas as the season goes on in order to become a stronger, more competitive team.
“There’s an emphasis on starting faster and having a confidence and energy level that is high enough to compete against quality competition,” Sachire said. “Every individual has some things to work on, whether it’s tennis-related or competition-related, but I’m confident in our guys.”
For Sachire’s squad, the upcoming schedule does not get any easier, as Notre Dame will head to Champaign, Illinois, for the second time this season to take on the No. 7 Fighting Illini at 7 p.m. Friday at Atkins Tennis Center. Notre Dame fell to Illinois, 4-0, in the opening round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend last Friday but will look to bounce back into the win column against the Illini.