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No. 17 Notre Dame drops two of three over weekend

| Wednesday, February 28, 2018

No. 17 Notre Dame had a busy weekend, hosting three different teams, including two ranked opponents, in a span of three days at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish (8-5, 1-0 ACC) dropped their first two matches of the weekend to No. 12 Michigan and No. 3 Ohio State before defeating Toledo 7-0 to halt a five-match losing streak.

On Friday, in a close 4-3 defeat against Michigan (8-2), freshman Richard Ciamarra and freshman William Howells grabbed the lone Notre Dame singles wins. The doubles teams of sophomore Guillermo Cabrera and junior Alex Lebedev and Ciamarra and sophomore Matt Gamble took home victories over the Wolverines.

Ann Curtis | The Observer
Irish sophomore Guillermo Cabrera prepares to serve during Notre Dame’s 7-0 win over Toledo on Feb. 25 at Eck Tennis Pavilion

On Sunday against Ohio State (10-1), Howells earned another singles victory. Gamble earned the other singles win 6-3, 6-4. But in doubles, the Buckeyes swept the Irish to claim the 5-2 win.

The Irish took home a clean sweep later on Sunday against Toledo, winning all six singles matches and all three doubles matches. Cabrera, Gamble, junior Grayson Broadus, junior Nathan Griffin, freshman Paul Gota and freshman Tristian McCormick all earned singles victories, while the pairs of senior Drew Dawson and sophomore Conor Somers, Gota and Griffin, senior Brendon Kempin and Broadus took home doubles wins.

Notre Dame head coach Ryan Sachire said he liked his team’s overall effort this past weekend.

“It’s been similar to a lot of other matches recently,” Sachire said. “I thought we played very well and competed very well in the matches against Michigan and Ohio State, we just came up a couple of points short here and there in terms of getting a team win, but super proud of how our guys played and competed, and we’re doing a lot of really good things. Again, we want to ultimately win these matches, but in terms of how we’ve been playing and competing and preparing, I couldn’t be happier with our guys.”

Sachire said he also liked the mindset his team had while playing a few quality teams.

“When you’re talking about playing against some of the best teams in the country, they don’t give you anything,” Sachire said. “You have to earn everything you get and take everything you get from them and I thought our guys played very aggressively and confidently for the most part. There were obviously a couple of moments here and there where we weren’t at our best, but by and large, I really liked the mindset that our team is going into each match with and playing not only hard but aggressive and confident tennis, and that’s ultimately what you need to do to win at this level.”

Sachire said his team needs to work some more on finishing matches.

“I think getting opportunities to close out matches, it’s kind of hard to work on that in practice,” Sachire said. “It’s more of developing a mindset to when we get those opportunities, we’re determined to finish them. Then I think number two is finishing points to the net. Our net game could be a little bit better, but other than that I think we are playing pretty well.”

Notre Dame doesn’t have another match until March 7, when they go on the road to face Illinois in a non-conference match. Sachire said his team will use the time in between to recuperate.

“We’re going to take these next three days for rest and recovery and kind of let the guys breathe a little bit, and then we’ll get back at it on Thursday and really train hard,” Sachire said. “It’s pretty rare that we get that much time to work on our games and hone the skills of the game, so we’ll train and practice hard and get ready for another top-10 team next Wednesday.”

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