Notre Dame hopes to close the regular season with wins over Georgia Tech and Clemson
Noah Furneri | Thursday, April 19, 2018
As it prepares to square off in its final two regular-season matches this weekend, Notre Dame is riding a wave of confidence, with two wins over Miami and Ball State in two of its three final home matches last weekend, sweeping the Cardinals 7-0. It hopes to continue its momentum as it heads south to take on Georgia Tech this Friday and Clemson on Sunday afternoon.
Two wins this weekend would not only allow the Irish (15-12, 5-5 ACC) to end the conference regular season with a winning record, but also provide the team a much-appreciated moral boost before the first rounds of the ACC championships in Cary, North Carolina, next week.
Despite the overall winning record this season, the team has struggled on the road, having won only three of eight away games. Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said losing because the games are not on home turf this weekend is not an excuse. He also said he is convinced that confidence is both key for victory and is not lacking in his team.
“We just played very well at home,” Sachire said.“The team feels incredibly confident, and our health is good. That is all you can really ask for as a coach. Our level continues to improve. Sometimes it is harder for a team if the boys do not continue to improve. It can make the matches difficult, but as the players get out there a lot continues to improve, especially some of the fundamentals continue to improve in certain players. It is exciting to see.”
Fundamentals will be necessary, considering this is the team’s last chance to improve before the conference championships, he said. Sachire also said he values polishing up the team’s ability to connect what it has learned in practice to more stressful game scenarios in order to advance in the championship.
“One area we need to improve is our level of connecting what we learn and train for in practice with what we take to the court,” Sachire said. “We have to increase our implementation of the skills we train in practice. Sometimes you get nervous and you fall back into old habits when you get on the field, but we need to learn to not do that this week.”
The Irish will look to junior Grayson Broadus to lead throughout final matchups. Broadus won his singles match at last year’s ACC championship on the No. 6 court but will be expected to carry his season improvement into the postseason. After going 12-13 last season, he has posted a 19-11 record on the season, winning seven of his last 10 matches, including the last three.
When asked if a loss in either matchup this weekend could deter Notre Dame’s momentum, Sachire said that no matter what happens this weekend the energy would continue straight into the ACC championships.
“We are not going to do anything but our best this weekend,” he said. “And regardless of what happens, we will be out there to beat them at the championship.”
The Irish will take on Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday.