After closing out the regular season with Boston College and Depaul, Notre Dame men’s tennis will travel to Rome, Georgia for the ACC Tournament this week. The Irish (16-11, 5-7) are the No. 1 seed. 9 Tournament in the Seed. They will play against their first match. 8 Florida State (15-9, 5-7) on Thursday.
Notre Dame enters after the tournament with an up-and-down ACC regular-season slate that has consistency with the times they have seen. They got off to a strong 4-2 start in conference play that included a win against then-No. 25 Miami. Following the hot start, the Irish have suffered five consecutive losses, including their schedule, and the ACC standings of the top six in the teams. Their final conference match in Notre Dame turned things around, a dominant 7-0 win over Boston College, and they will turn their attention to the Seminoles as they build on their hopes.
Florida State against Notre Dame experience. The Seminoles defeated the Irish in a tight 4-2 match against South Bend earlier this season. The Irish will be looking for a different result this time around. A major factor will be Douglas in Notre Dame’s play, which has been the team’s weakness for some time this year. The Irish have won 53% of their doubles matches on the season, and just 41% in ACC play. Compared to 61% and 49% win rates in singles, it’s been a chapter. Florida State won the doubles point at the teams’ first meeting by the Court on Earning Victories. 1 and 2, and Notre Dame was unable to recover from the early deficit. Taking the Doubles Point on Thursday would be a great way to improve on the Irish’s chances for the next round.
In singles, the marquee matchup will come on court no. 1, as Notre Dame senior Axel Nefve, ranked No. 63 Nationally, will likely face off Florida State junior Loris Pourroy, ranked No. 44. Pourrey picked up a hard-fought 7-6, 6-4 victory when the players met earlier in the year, and the postseason stage on Revenge for Nefve will be looking. The matchup is Pending Nefve’s injury status. Duke on March 25 against The Senior Retired on his match, and since he played. Head coach Ryan Sachire told The Observer that Nefve is “working towards playing Thursday.”
Notre Dame has also seen strong play from juniors Connor Fu and Matthew throughout the course of the season. Both players enter the tournament with three consecutive matches. Notre Dame and Florida State appear to have matched up pretty evenly, and Fu and Chew will continue to play their hot stretch.
Looking ahead, the path to an ACC championship will be a tough one for Notre Dame, as a win against Florida State would earn them a match 1 seed on the quarterfinals in Virginia on Friday. Virginia finished a first-round bye after finishing a perfect 12-0 in conference play, and the Cavaliers currently sit at No. 6 in the nation, the highest in the ACC. Virginia defeated Notre Dame 6-1 in Charlottesville when the teams met early in March, but the Irish have shown themselves to be an improved squad. The other top-four seeds in the tournament are Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Louisville, all teams that have defeated Notre Dame during the regular season. The Irish will likely face some combination of these if they advance to Virginia.
Notre Dame, ranked No. 34 Nationally, the hopes of using a strong performance in Georgia this week to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Irish ranked an identical number. 34 entering the ACC Tournament and, possibly, their first match in Fall, did earn a bid to the NCAAs. The Irish will look to make a final boost to their resume with a deep run in the tournament this week.
Notre Dame will take on Florida State at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. If the Irish advance, the following rounds will each be at 10 am on Friday through Sunday.