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Men’s Tennis

ND eyes key win versus OSU

| Friday, February 26, 2016

Coming off a weekend split against Kentucky and Western Michigan, Notre Dame looks to grab a signature win Sunday afternoon, as it faces off against one of the best teams in the nation: Ohio State.

The Buckeyes (12-1), the No. 3 team in the nation is on a hot streak, with two wins last weekend against ranked competition in the form of Texas A&M and Florida. Notre Dame head coach Ryan Sachire recognizes Ohio State’s tennis program for what it has accomplished, but stated that his Irish (6-5) will be more than up for the challenge of trying to beat them.

Irish freshman Nathan Griffin steps into a backhand during Notre Dame’s 7-0 win over Ball State on Feb. 7 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.Becki Jeren | The Observer
Irish freshman Nathan Griffin steps into a backhand during Notre Dame’s 7-0 win over Ball State on Feb. 7 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

“[Ohio State’s] obviously a really good team,” Sachire said. “We play them every year and so we’re very familiar with them and have a tremendous amount of respect for their players and coaches. They do have a great program, but we have great players as well, so I expect a great match and for us to go in and play well”.

Though Notre Dame is 4-1 in its last five matches, the Irish are considered the underdog in this matchup. However, as its 6-1 thrashing of Michigan a two weeks ago showed, the team has the skill and capability to compete well with anyone in the country. Sachire said the key for his team is for the players to play within themselves with a high level of confidence and poise in key situations.

“A big key for us is just having confidence in what we do,” Sachire said. “Hold serve, and being aggressive in going for our shots, but also knowing that we jut have to do what we need to do. We respect [Ohio State] and what they do, but we also need to respect ourselves and have a high degree of confidence heading into the match”.

And though the Irish have enjoyed success recently, their one loss came last weekend at the hands of Kentucky by the score of 4-0. Sachire said the loss to Kentucky is the type of performance he hopes to see less of in the future.

“We played a very poor match against Kentucky … hopefully a one match blip,” Sachire said. “[We] didn’t have a great week of practice leading up to it — guys weren’t hitting the ball well and I think it messed with their psyche a bit, but we have to be more resilient than that. We’re having a great week of practice and that should translate into a lot of confidence heading into our match on Sunday.”

The Irish look to top the Buckeyes on Sunday at noon at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to formerly serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

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