Squad carries momentum into final contest of season
Jackie Brebeck | Friday, April 15, 2016
Notre Dame will enter the last game of the season against North Carolina State with momentum.
Last Friday, the Irish (13-12, 5-6 ACC) celebrated a successful Senior Night. Not only did the seniors take home a win, the team upset the No. 1 ranked team in the country, North Carolina 5-2. It was the first time Notre Dame had defeated a No. 1 team since 1992.
The Irish had an early lead against the Tar Heels (22-3, 9-3 ACC) with two upset victories by juniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar and senior Nicolas Montoya and freshman Grayson Broadus in order to secure the doubles point . The singles matches were close, as every match went to two tiebreakers or a third set. Senior Quentin Monaghan put up the first singles point on court No. 1; shortly after, Broadus put up another one on court No. 6.
Hagar was defeated in a tight 7-6(6), 7-6(5) match, making the score 4-2. One more match was needed to win the game for Notre Dame, and senior Alex Lawson secured it with a 6-4, 6-7(5), and 6-7(6) win. Senior Kenneth Sabacinski added another win, making the final score 5-2. Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said he was proud of the way his team played agains the top-ranked Tar Heels.
“Obviously, last Friday night was a great night for our program,” Sachire said. “Beating a program that we respect, like North Carolina, is always special and I couldn’t be prouder to see our seniors step up in their last home match and lead our team to victory.”
To knock off North Carolina, Sachire said playing aggressively and staying calm were key factors for his team.
“The biggest reasons why we were successful were: one, we didn’t get discouraged when they made runs at us and we were in adverse situations and two, we had the courage and confidence to play aggressive tennis, go for our shots, and trust ourselves in the biggest moments,” Sachire said.
To add to Notre Dame’s momentum, Lawson was named the ACC Co-Player of the Week on Tuesday. His performance in his singles match, staying strong through two tie-breakers and coming back from deficits to clinch the game for the team win, was what got him the title, Sachire said, adding the accolade was well-deserved.
“Alex [Lawson] is a very hard worker and has improved so much at Notre Dame,” Sachire said. “He is as invested in our program as anyone who has played here, and he hast truly earned everything that he has gotten. As a coach, it’s great to see players with that kind of attitude get rewarded for their effort and dedication. I couldn’t be prouder of Alex.”
In regards to this upcoming game, Sachire said the team plans to build on the momentum it currently has.
“Our goal is to build on [last week’s] performance and play with the same mindset on Sunday against NC State. We expect it to be a great match,” Sachire said.
On Sunday, the Irish will go on the road to Raleigh, North Carolina to face North Carolina State in their last game of the regular season. The game will be played in the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center and is schedule to start at 1:00 pm.