No. 26 Notre Dame prepares to host Wake Forest and NC State before postseason play
Madeline Ladd | Thursday, March 31, 2022
The No. 26 Notre Dame men’s tennis team has a big home weekend ahead, with conference matchups against Wake Forest on Friday, April 1 followed by NC State on Sunday, April 3. With four matches in eight days, the Irish are attempting to build momentum as they prepare to transition into postseason play.
After suffering a 5-2 loss against No. 18 Duke and a 4-0 loss against No. 24 UNC on the road earlier this past week, the Irish are looking to improve their track record with North Carolinian teams. Head coach Ryan Sachire has confidence in the team as they head into the weekend with home court advantage.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” Sachire said. “We got a great day of practice and our guys are in a good spot. We had two tough results over the weekend, but we played okay — pretty well actually. We’re back home this weekend, which is always nice. We always play well on our courts and are excited about a big home weekend ahead.”
Despite the positive feelings, this weekend will be a test for the Irish. With the Demon Deacons ranked No. 10 in the nation, and the Wolfpack sitting at No. 34, the Irish will face some stiff competition. Notre Dame’s No. 26 ranking puts them in the running for potential wins this weekend.
“Certainly Wake and NC State are both really, really strong teams,” Sachire said. “Wake has been a perennial top ten program over the past decade, and NC State is one of the hottest programs in terms of their elevation over the past few years. Two really good opponents coming in, and two really great opportunities for our team.”
Sachire looks to juniors Matthew Che and Connor Fu to continue the momentum they have been creating for the team. Often part of the starting lineup in both singles and doubles, the two have consistently picked up needed match wins for the Irish.
“They have done really well as ACC play has begun, and we’re going to continue to rely on them,” Sachire said. “We need them to perform well as we hit the homestretch here and particularly this weekend against quality opponents. Again, those guys have been playing really well, and we are excited about what they can do against Wake and NC State.”
Coming up, the Irish have a condensed schedule with only three games left following this weekend. The team will wrap up regular season play in what Sachire refers to as a “rinse and repeat” type of situation, with matchups against Louisville, Boston College and DePaul. The team looks ahead to ACC Championships, trying to prioritize the basics to ensure a successful end to their regular season and potential postseason success.
“Certainly we have an eye on the postseason, but honestly the best way to prepare for that is take one day at a time,” Sachire said. “I know it sounds cliche, but we are really trying to continue to get better. I think sometimes there’s teams that sort of ‘gloss over’ practice at this stage of the year. We’re trying to take every day as it comes and maximize the time we have together and time we have on the court.”
Sachire’s hope is that the team can be better each day than they were before, learning from their mistakes and keeping the same vitality in both practices and matches.
“Honestly, I just want to try to be a better team in two weeks than we are right now. If we can do that and play these matches with the urgency and intensity and focus they deserve, we are going to be a better team in a few weeks. We have improved every week throughout the year and we want to keep that trend going.”
Tune into the live stream or follow the live scoring this weekend as Notre Dame takes on Wake Forest and NC State. The matchup against the Demon Deacons takes place Friday, April 1 at 4 p.m. followed by play against the Wolfpack on Sunday, April 3 at noon.