ND falls to No. 19 Florida State on road
Patrick Gallagher | Thursday, March 21, 2019
The No. 11 Irish fell to then-No. 44 Florida State 4-3 on Sunday in Tallahassee. It was a tough and extremely competitive contest in which three of the six singles matches lasted until a third set.
Florida State (13-5) has only lost once at home this year, but Notre Dame (10-8) was prepared to give them one of the most challenging matches of the season, despite playing without their star player, senior Alex Lebedev, on court one. The win catapulted the Seminoles to No. 19 in the most recent NCAA rankings.
The match began with a dominant performance from the Irish’s doubles pairs. Junior Matt Gamble and senior Grayson Broadus quickly beat their Seminole opponents senior Lucas Poullain and freshman Bryn Nahrung 6-3 while junior Guillermo Cabrera and sophomore William Howells clinched the doubles point with a 6-0 shutout of Chase Wood and Richard Thongoan. Florida State evened the score as junior Enzo Le Seguillon defeated Grayson Broadus in two sets. Sophomore Tristan McCormick regained the lead for the Irish by beating Richard Thongoana 6-4, 6-3.
Poullain led the comeback for Florida State with an impressive two-set victory over freshman Axel Nefve. The Seminoles took a 3-2 lead when junior Alex Knaff outlasted Irish junior Matt Gamble in a hard-fought three-set match. Howells kept the Irish’s hopes for victory alive by completing a third set comeback against Wood and tied the score at 3-3. However, freshman Juan Martin Jalif was able to win the overall match for Florida State by beating Cabrera in the third set.
Notre Dame head coach Ryan Sachire noted his team’s high level of play in the match.
“I thought we played well in all three matches over spring break,” Sachire said. “Obviously, we were down a couple of our key players, so guys were playing at a higher position than they’re used to. Despite that, I thought we did a good job of … putting ourselves in position to win, but we just didn’t finish the deal.”
Sachire also praised the Irish’s resiliency when facing injuries and a challenging schedule.
“Our depth has been one of our greatest strengths,” he said. “When programs lose their one and two players, most teams collapse, but our team … has a lot of really good players that have been able to sustain a high level of play even though we’ve had some injuries. Our guys have also improved. Their level of play has increased throughout the course of the season, and we’ve played probably the toughest schedule in the country.”
This Friday, Notre Dame will match up against Wake Forest before playing in Sunday’s doubleheader against NC State and Toledo. Sachire said he wants the Irish to focus on one match at a time and to gradually improve their level of play.
“Every match we play … for the next two months will be against really good opponents,” he said. “I think the goal is to get better every single week. We’ll take it one match at a time … because, if we get ahead of ourselves, we won’t perform at our best. We want to see each week leading up to the match as a chance to improve a little bit. You can’t overhaul someone’s game in two or three days of practice, but improving on a few key areas of each guy’s game each week is important.”