March 20, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- The 11th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team continues with the second half of its spring season with two away conference matches this weekend. The Fighting Irish will travel play Clemson on Friday before going down to Atlanta, Ga., to face Georgia Tech.
The Irish are coming off two hard losses to highly ranked teams, Virginia and USC. Despite the loss to the Trojans, head coach Ryan Sachire says the experience has pushed the team even harder on the court this week.
“The USC match exposed some things that we needed to learn, and we’ve been a lot better in practice this week because of those lessons,” he says. “There’s a point structure to playing outside. There’s a little more patience needed before going for the winning shot or the ultra-aggressive shot. So shot selection is the biggest thing—learning how to construct points, knowing what’s a ball to be aggressive on.”
Virginia and USC were the first matches of the season that Notre Dame has played on outdoor courts, and preparing for the transition to the new surface has been a focus of the team’s practice. Sachire calls it “a critical piece to sustaining the success from the first half of the season,” and this week was the first time they were able to get on the outdoor courts at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The Irish will have today and early tomorrow to practice on Clemson’s outdoor courts before the Friday match at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s a huge match,” Sachire says. “We’ve looked at the last couple weeks as a period of time where we’ve improved as a team and we’re excited to get back on the court and complete against a top-20 opponent who’s really good. They’ve had a great season and they’re good, so we’ll have to play well to win.”
Clemson is ranked 20th in the country and have gone 15-2 on the season. The Irish face them tomorrow and the Georgia Tech match will get started Sunday at noon.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant