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Men’s Tennis

Irish win two of three over weekend behind strong doubles play

| Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Notre Dame (12-9, 3-2 ACC) hosted two conference opponents during a three-match weekend at Eck Tennis Pavilion this past weekend. The Irish fell 6-1 to No. 5 North Carolina on Friday but rebounded to defeat Virginia Tech 7-0 and IUPUI 6-1 on Sunday.

Notre Dame head coach Ryan Sachire was pleased with his team’s performance over the weekend.

“I thought we did a pretty good job,” Sachire said. “We wanted to do a little bit better than we did against North Carolina on Friday than we did, but there were some good spots in that match. Some of our guys played very well. Then Sunday was a really good day for us. I thought we took another step forward on Sunday and I thought we played a more complete match. We had our whole lineup clicking on all cylinders and beat a pretty good Virginia Tech team 7-0, and that is hard to do. So all in all I thought it was a good weekend to be able to build some momentum here for this upcoming weekend as well.”

Against the Tar Heels on Friday, freshman Richard Ciamarra grabbed the only Irish singles victory (6-1, 6-2) on court No. 3. On court No. 1, junior captain Alex Lebedev narrowly lost his match in three sets, 7-2, 6-7 (2-7), 1-0 (10-4).

Against IUPUI on Sunday, Notre Dame was powered to singles victories by sophomore Guillermo Cabrera, sophomore Matt Gamble, freshman Paul Gota, senior Brendon Kempin and sophomore Jonathan Small. A sweep on the doubles court featured wins by Ciamarra and Kempin, senior Drew Dawson and junior Nathan Griffin and freshmen William Howells and Tristan McCormick.

Sachire said he liked what he saw from his team’s doubles play.

“Specifically focusing on Sunday, I thought being effective in doubles is important, especially for us,” Sachire said. “It’s only worth one point, but it’s a big point and when we play our best matches I feel like we had pretty good momentum starting in doubles, and that kind of carries over into the singles. Our main focus is on how we play, and I thought we played well in doubles this weekend, and that was the key, quite honestly, for us in practice. We spent a lot of time last week on that, and we’ll continue to do so. That was one positive.

“Then against Virginia Tech on Sunday we did a good job of all six guys out there for singles being really competitive and really taking pride in what they are doing and giving ourselves a chance to win all six singles matches. When you do that, I think we are a pretty tough team to beat.”

Sachire said his team will adjust to playing in different conditions during practice this week.

“We’re going to play outdoors again on Friday,” Sachire said. “We spent this last weekend playing inside, so I think just getting back to the outdoor tennis conditions will be part of our focus in practice. Then just continue on the path that we are on and the biggest thing for us is taking pride in and having a lot of confidence in our doubles. If we can perform well in that area in our match, I think our singles play kind of follows suit afterwards.”

Notre Dame will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on conference foe North Carolina State on Friday. The Irish will then make the trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a match with No. 1 Wake Forest on Sunday.

Sachire said mentality will be a big part of carrying his team’s current momentum into this weekend.

“I think having the mentality that we’re going to be good in all nine spots, all six singles matches and all three doubles matches,” Sachire said. “We know with the level of competition we will be playing against, if we’re battling, fighting and competing, giving ourselves a chance to win in all nine spots, I like our chances of winning the team match. I think making sure that every guy that’s out there is locked in, competitive and confident is going to be the biggest thing for us.”

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