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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame defeats Duke, advances to quarterfinals of ACC tournament

Coming off of last year’s disappointing first-round exit in the ACC tournament to 10th-seeded Georgia Tech, Notre Dame was determined not to allow a repeat upset this year at the hands of 10th-seeded Duke.

This year, the Irish (15-12, 6-6) won in convincing fashion, earning a 4-1 victory against the Blue Devils (11-15, 4-8) early Thursday afternoon at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, North Carolina.

The Irish pushed their current winning streak to five against the Blue Devils, grabbing the doubles point thanks to the combination of freshman Grayson Broadus and senior Nicolas Montoya and the senior duo of Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan. For Lawson, the victory moves his career record to 91-53, which puts him in third place on the all-time Irish doubles win list. Junior Josh Hagar put the Irish up 2-0 with a win at court No. 2, and key victories by junior Eddy Covalschi at the No. 3 slot and Broadus at court No. 6 clinched the victory for the Irish.

Notre Dame now moves onto the ACC quarterfinals, where it will face second-seeded Wake Forest. The Irish will face the tall task of taking down the Demon Deacons (26-5, 10-2), who are ranked No. 7 in the country and are, along with powerhouses No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 North Carolina, one of the favorites to win the entire ACC Tournament. The Demon Deacons, who lost the in the tournament championship to Virginia last year, are looking to seal the deal this year and have set several program records during the regular season. Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said he recognizes the quality of the Wake Forest program and its 2015-2016 team, but said that shouldn’t affect how the Irish play on Friday afternoon.

“Wake Forest is one of the best teams in the country,” Sachire said. “We know we are going to have to play our best tennis in order to beat them, but we know we have the capability of doing just that, especially after how we’ve been playing these last three to four weeks.”

Back on March 13, the Irish were swept by the Demon Deacons 7-0 on the road at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. However, the Demon Deacons will now face, on a neutral court, a healthier and improved Irish team that currently possesses confidence and momentum entering the match. Sachire commented on his team’s momentum and how it has helped to shape its mindset before every single match they enter.

“We definitely feel the momentum building, so I think we approach each match now with a lot of confidence and energy and the guys know what their capable of playing like,” Sachire said. “That sense of calm and comfort — knowing that we can control what’s in our hands — has really helped this team improve.”

The Irish will square off against the seventh-ranked and second-seeded Demon Deacons at noon in Friday’s quarterfinal. The Demon Deacons have won 13 of their last 14 matches, but the Irish will look to pull off the upset and continue their winning ways deep into the tournament.