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Men’s Tennis

Irish set for individuals at ITA Midwest Regionals

| Thursday, October 17, 2019

This week, the Irish will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the ITA Midwest Regional Championships. This is the team’s fifth competition of the year. It is their last regional competition before traveling to Florida for back-to-back tournaments.

The fall season for the tennis team is very individual focused. No team competitions take place until the spring. Head coach Ryan Sachire talked about the team’s attitude and how they have been managing expectations with so many road competitions. 

“Cleary we’ve had some really strong performances from some individuals,” Sachire said. “We have some guys that we really want to help to get a little bit better and achieve better results. Overall I think that we are doing fine. We are doing well. Again, looking at things a little more deeply, there is a pretty wide spectrum of performances that we’ve seen so far.”

When asked about the level of competition that the team would be facing this week and for the rest of the season, Sachire boasted about the highly-skilled teams that the Irish face every season. He was excited for his players to be able to play against high profile opponents this weekend in Columbus. 

“[The ITA Midwest Regional Championship] is a great opportunity for all of our guys to play and compete. We are in one of the very, very strongest regions in the country,” he said. “There are some very good teams that are going to have players in this tournament. All of our guys know that they are going to have opportunities this weekend to play strong opponents and have good matches. Obviously we want to do as well as we can.”

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish senior Guillermo Cabrera prepares to receive a serve during Notre Dame’s win over Michigan State on March 1.

During the individual portion of the collegiate tennis season — the fall — many players have opportunities to grow and rise to new heights. The Irish men’s team is no stranger to this phenomenon. The eight players traveling to the competition this weekend are all striving to keep improving. Notably, Sachire referred to two particular players to watch out for as the weekend and season progress, one being freshman Connor Fu. 

“He has gone 7-1 in the events he’s played this fall,” Sachire said. “He will be playing this weekend in Columbus and he is bringing a lot of momentum with him. He also has had a really good fall to this point.”

Another player who has had a standout season but will not be travelling to compete in Columbus is junior Richard Ciamarra. 

“He had a great run [last competition] in Tulsa. He had a great tournament and played nine matches. Just from a recovery standpoint, he needs a little time off,” Sachire said. “He is not going to play this weekend, but he has had a great fall until this point. He played two tournaments and they’ve both been high-level national events. He has done exceptionally well in both tournaments, so clearly Richard is off to a great start this fall.”

The team will miss Ciamarra, but Sachire is confident that this Irish team is well prepared for the opponents that await at the ITA Midwestern Regional Championships. 

Sachire also touched on the importance of the individual fall competitions on team chemistry and leadership between upper and underclassmen. This tournament is a major landmark in the fall season. The examples that older players set ripple over into the team based competitions in the spring.

“The older guys have been through this college season a few times now and they get why the fall is important. The confidence that it can build throughout each individual player is critical come January when it’s the team season,” he said. “Our older guys have done a good job to this point. Obviously they can always do better at communicating and make sure that they are taking care of things, but, up to this point, it has been a very good start. We’re definitely excited about what we can continue to do as a team for the rest of the fall and into January.”

The Irish are confident and focused with the competition at hand. Both Sachire and the players are excited about the challenges that await at the ITA Midwest Championships. The competition will take place at Ohio State from Oct. 17 to 21.

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