1996-97 Season Review
The 1996-97 Notre Dame men’s tennis season was highlighted by a seventh straight trip to the NCAA Championship, an appearance by Ryan Sachire in the NCAA singles tournament and a trip by Brian Patterson and Jakub Pietrowski to the NCAA doubles event. All three players were making their NCAA singles and doubles tournament debuts.
Notre Dame lost to Minnesota by a 4-2 count in the semifinals of the NCAA Region IV championship. Sachire defeated Daniel Anderson of Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the NCAA singles event by a 6-1, 6-4 score before falling to seventh-seed Ryan Wolters of Stanford, 6-2, 6-2. The Irish doubles team of Patterson and Pietrowski lost in the first round of doubles to third-seed Tim Crichton and Tom Hamilton of Arkansas by a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 count.
The Irish finished the season ranked No. 16 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association while Sachire was ranked No. 37 in singles and Patterson and Pietrowski were No. 29 in doubles.
Sachire played the No. 1 singles position for the Irish for most of the dual match season and had an overall singles mark of 37-9, including an 19-4 mark in dual match play and a 14-4 mark at the No. 1 singles spot.
Sachire reached the championship match of the ITA Rolex Region IV championship in the fall, when he lost in the final to Jamie Gordon of Purdue by a 7-6, 3-6, 6-1 count. He defeated teammate Pietrowski 7-6, 6-4 in his semifinal win.
During the dual match season, Sachire played three opponents then ranked in the top 50, with losses to Michael Russell of Miami (No. 4) and Oliver Truma of Virginia Commonwealth (No. 16) and a win over John James of South Alabama (No. 19).
Sachire was named the Midwest Regional ITA Rookie Player of the Year while Irish assistant coach Andy Zurcher was named the Wilson/ITA/Assistant Coach of the Year.
In singles, Patterson finished the regular season with a six-match winning streak in singles and was victorious in 10 of his final 11 singles efforts. He has played as high as No. 2 in the dual match lineup. Patterson had a key win for the Irish at No. 4 singles against Ry Tarpley of Northwestern (6-1, 1-6, 6-3) in a 4-3 win over the Wildcats on April 9. He also defeated Oliver Freelove of Illinois (6-3, 6-0) in a 4-1 win over the Illini on March 14.
Danny Rothschild was a consistent member of the Irish lineup last season, with most of his duty coming at No. 5 singles. Rothschild played in just one dual match over his first two seasons and had a 14-6 record last season at No. 5 singles, a 16-6 record in dual matches overall and a season mark of 23-10 in singles total.