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Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Observer

Irish men’s tennis heads into weekend of ACC play

Notre Dame men’s tennis has emphasized daily preparation and establishing an identity all year. Thus far, the consistent approach instilled in the team by head coach Ryan Sachire has led them to an 8-4 record. As a result of their strong start to the season, they are currently ranked No. 40 nationally. 

The Irish have recorded resounding wins over DePaul, IUPUI, Chicago State, UIC and Western Michigan as well as nail-biting victories against Big Ten foes Wisconsin and Michigan State. They finished the ITA Kickoff event 1-1, defeating Washington 4-2 but falling to No. 5 Kentucky 4-1.

The Irish have played well for most of the season but have faltered against top competition. They were shut out by No. 4 Ohio State, No. 12 Northwestern and No. 16 Illinois, in addition to their loss against Kentucky.

With conference play beginning this weekend, the Irish have an opportunity to reverse that trend and start off on the right foot in the ACC. Sachire has prepared his team for the grueling slate of matches that ACC play presents, and those matches have at last arrived for a motivated Irish group.

Notre Dame will play No. 10 North Carolina on Friday, followed by No. 22 Duke on Sunday. The Irish will also face non-conference opponent Northern Kentucky on Sunday. All matches will be played at Eck Tennis Pavilion.

North Carolina enters the weekend 8-4, with notable wins over Illinois, No. 29 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Florida.

Duke also has an 8-4 record. They have recorded wins over No. 23 Auburn and No. 60 Charlotte and have suffered narrow one-point losses against Kentucky and Northwestern.

Northern Kentucky is 5-4, with three of those losses coming against Ohio State, Kentucky and UIC, who the Irish have already played this season.

This weekend, Notre Dame will look to begin ACC play with a bang against a pair of conference championship contenders. Friday’s match against North Carolina will begin at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the Irish will face Duke at noon and Northern Kentucky at 5 p.m. All three matches can be streamed via the Notre Dame men’s tennis website.