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Men’s Tennis

Notre Dame takes two of three in final home weekend of season

| Tuesday, April 17, 2018

No. 25 Notre Dame celebrated Senior Day on Friday and its final home matches of the weekend Sunday with two wins in three matches at Courtney Tennis Center. The Irish defeated Miami (FL) 5-2 on Friday before dropping a close 4-3 decision to No. 9 Florida State on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday night, in its final home match of the season, Notre Dame swept Ball State by a score of 7-0.

Against the Hurricanes (12-10, 3-7 ACC), the Irish (15-12, 5-5 ACC) were powered by singles wins from junior Grayson Broadus, freshman Richard Ciamarra, junior Alex Lebedev and freshman Tristan McCormick, along with doubles victories from the duos of McCormick and senior Brendon Kempin as well as Broadus and Ciamarra.

Ann Curtis | The Observer

Irish junior Grayson Broadus prepares to strike a backhand during Notre Dame’s 6-1 loss to North Carolina on March 23 at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Against the Seminoles (25-2, 9-1 ACC), Broadus and Ciamarra recorded the only Notre Dame singles wins. The pairs of Kempin and McCormick and Cabrera and Lebedev picked up victories to give the Irish the doubles point of the match.

Against the Cardinals (13-8, 2-3 MAC), sophomore Matt Gamble, junior Nathan Griffin, freshman William Howells and sophomore Johnathan Small got in on the action and picked up singles wins for the Irish.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said he was pleased with the effort he saw from his team this weekend.

“I thought we played well overall,” Sachire said. “To beat a good Miami team, outdoors especially, I thought was a really good win for our guys. We played very well, and then against Florida State — they’re 25-2 for a reason. They are very good, and we were right there. Another 4-3 match, and I thought we were really competitive. I thought it was the best level we’ve played at in a few weeks, so I was pleased with the overall level. Then last night, it was good to see some of the other guys get into the action and play well against Ball State.”

When asked what he liked in particular from his team this weekend, Sachire pointed out the team’s doubles play, which in the past he has narrowed in on as an area that needs improvement.

“We’ve made it a point of emphasis in our practices the last couple of weeks, and [Sunday] against Florida State was, I thought, our best doubles point — in terms of all three positions playing at a high level — in a long time, maybe the entire year,” Sachire said. “So I’m happy about the progress that’s making. In general, I see our guys getting a little bit better, and I think we’re playing some of our best tennis right now.”

Sachire did, however, reiterate the need for his team to continue serving well going forward.

“I think the serve and return of serve will be a focal point,” he said. “I think we’re doing some good things in the middle points and finishing points, but the start of points is always very important — and not that we’re doing it poorly right now, we just think we can always get a little better with that. We’ll take a couple of days to recover and refresh, and once we get back to practicing on Wednesday, it’s going to be the big push — to serve at a really high level when we play Georgia Tech on Friday.”

Notre Dame finished 3-1 over the course of its last four home matches. Sachire said he believes this will help his team continue its momentum into the final weekend of the regular season.

“I think you take it back to the Duke match the weekend previously,” Sachire said of his team’s recent strong play. “It was a good home stand. The four matches over two weekends, we played three really high-level opponents in Duke, Miami (FL) and Florida State, and I thought we played well in all three matches, winning two of those three. It was also really good to see guys get in against Ball State.

“You have one of two feelings when the end of year rolls around, and that is you’re kind of staggering to the finish line or accelerating to the finish line. And we want to be the team that is accelerating to the finish line, and I think we are. I think we’re getting better, we’re getting healthier and I’m excited for us to build on what we’ve done these last two weekends, hopefully, this Friday night.”

Notre Dame will close out the regular season this weekend when it travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Friday and Clemson, South Carolina, to square off with Clemson on Sunday.

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