Oct. 24, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- The rest of the student body may be on fall break, but the University of Notre Dame men's tennis team isn't stopping to take a breath. After its five-day tournament in Columbus, Ohio last week, the Irish are splitting up and traveling to two different tournaments this weekend. Four players will head to Orlando, Fla., for the USTA Clay Court Invitational while seven student-athletes are making the trip to Austin, Texas for the UT Invitational.
Sophomores Quentin Monaghan, Eric Schnurrenberger, Kenneth Sabacinski and Nicolas Montoya will play in Orlando while seniors Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley, juniors Michael Fredericka and Dougie Barnard, sophomore Alex Lawson and freshmen Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi will spend the weekend in Texas.
As with all of their fall tournaments, the Irish look to gain experience and perform better than they did the last time they were on the court. Head coach Ryan Sachire says the decisions to send which players to which tournament was based on their strengths and background.
"The two factors that we considered when making these groups were how each player's game translated to the two surfaces--clay and hard--and where each player is from," Sachire explains. "The Texas guys will be playing in Texas, and our Florida guy is playing in Florida."
And it's not just the players who are flocking to familiar territories. With Sachire heading to Texas, assistant coach Adam Schaechterle--who was formerly the head men's coach at the University of North Florida--will travel to Orlando with the four sophomores.
"I will be in Texas, primarily because that is our larger group and I want to be as engaged as I can with as many of our players as possible," Sachire says. "Also, since Adam's last coaching stop was in Florida, it will be fun for him to go back to that state and reacquaint with people that he knows."
The USTA Clay Court Invitational is hosted by Florida State University and begins today (Thursday). There are 64 players in the draw and Monaghan is seeded eighth.
The UT Invitational is being hosted by the University of Texas at the Pennick-Allison Tennis Center and begins tomorrow (Friday).
Sachire and his team understand that their success this fall will help them build towards a strong transition into the Atlantic Coast Conference this spring, but the head coach says it is most important to focus on the task right in front of you. This weekend may be building toward future improvement, but it's still one point at a time.
"The best method of getting to that level as a team is to simply take one day at a time and strive for excellence each day, whether it's a match, a practice, a conditioning session or even a day of recovery," Sachire says. "While we have made great strides in this area, there is still much room for growth and improvement, and we will continue to work as hard as we can to reach the level of excellence that we expect from ourselves."
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant