This Friday is Senior Day for Notre Dame, and its competition, a familiar ACC foe, will likely be its toughest test of the season.
The Irish will face off against No. 1 North Carolina, which has retained the top spot of the ITA National rankings for three straight weeks. The Tar Heels (21-2, 6-2 ACC), who won the 2016 ITA Indoor National Championship back in February, arrive in South Bend fresh off a loss. Last time out, North Carolina fell to No. 6 Wake Forest at home, 4-3. The Irish (12-12, 4-6 ACC) will look to send their seniors out with a win at the last home match of the season. Although Notre Dame will be the underdog entering the match, Irish head coach Ryan Sachire knows the Irish will give it everything they have on Senior Day.
“I’m hoping and expecting to see a very spirited effort from our guys,” Sachire said. “North Carolina has a great team but I think we’re going to play well and have a lot of energy and excitement.”
After this match, the Irish will travel to North Carolina State next weekend for their final ACC regular season match before beginning preparation for the ACC championships. Sachire referenced the grueling schedule the Irish have faced this year and said it will help in preparation for this match and the ACC championships.
“We’ve played one of the best schedules in the country this year, so our whole season has prepared us for the ACC championships and for this match,” Sachire said. “We’re not putting a lot of extra effort in this week because it’s just enough match for us, but it’s also Senior Day and our last home match of the season, so its important to recognize that and play well with a lot of energy.”
Following the match, the Irish will honor their five seniors — Alex Lawson, Quentin Monaghan, Nicolas Montoya, Kenneth Sabacinski, and Eric Schnurrenberger. Lawson currently holds 89 career doubles wins, which puts him into third place on Notre Dame's all-time doubles win list.
Monaghan was an NCAA singles championship semifinalist last year and was named an All-American, while this year he is ranked No. 33 in the latest singles poll. Sachire commented on his deep senior class and what they have meant to the program.
“This group has been a really special group,” Sachire said. “Each of them throughout his career has made really big contributions to this program. They’re great people. We’re gonna miss them for who they are, first and foremost, but also obviously for what they’ve done on the court and what they’ve brought to this program.”
The match against North Carolina will begin Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Courtney Tennis Center.