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Men’s Tennis

Irish prepare for matchup with ranked Northwestern squad

| Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Notre Dame is set to host No. 7 Northwestern in a nonconference match Friday night at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said his team will use this week’s practice time to work on improving both team play and individual adjustments before Notre Dame’s (7-3, 1-0 ACC) match against the Wildcats (10-3).

“We try to be specific in our practices and efficient with our time and try to isolate individual areas of each guy’s game where they can work on or improve and hopefully we’ll be a little better on Friday than we were on Sunday,” Sachire said. “That’s our goal.”

Notre Dame has won six of its last seven matches and are coming off of a 7-0 victory over Indiana on Sunday.

The Irish were powered by singles wins from sophomore Grayson Broadus, freshman Guillermo Cabrera, freshman Matt Gamble, sophomore Alex Lebedev and freshman Jonathan Small, who all won their matches in straight sets. At No. 1 singles, senior Josh Hagar won his first set 6-4 before dropping the second set 6-1. Hagar emerged victorious in the third and decisive set, 7-5.

The Irish doubles squads also found success against the Hoosiers. The No. 1 doubles team of seniors Eddy Covalschi and Hagar won their match 6-4, while the No. 3 team of junior Brendon Kempin and Broadus emerged victorious in their match 6-1.

Sachire said nonconference matches against strong opponents help his team improve its quality of play.

“We try to play the best teams we can out of conference,” Sachire said. “Obviously we’re very fortunate that there are some really strong teams that are within driving distance from campus so it makes it pretty logical to play them out of conference.”

Before Notre Dame’s shutout victory against Indiana, the also shut out Detroit 7-0 on Feb. 12. The Irish have currently won six of their last seven contests — five of those six wins have been 7-0 affairs.

Sachire also said the out of conference schedule helps his team prepare for their tough ACC schedule. For now though, his team is ready to face a nationally-ranked Northwestern team.

“Good tennis is good tennis,” Sachire said. “There’s not like a particular style that ACC schools play verses the way Big Ten schools play. It’s just good, solid tennis and obviously that helps us prepare for our conference schedule. The ACC is the best tennis conference in the country and we know that every contest in the league is going to be very competitive and we need to be good to succeed. We see these non-conference matches as ways for our guys to see some quality competition and become better because of it.”

Notre Dame and Northwestern are set to square off at 6 p.m. Friday at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

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