Notre Dame finds success at ITF Futures and Midwest Regionals
Alex Bender | Tuesday, October 23, 2018
While most students were away on fall break, Notre Dame was still hard at work with a pair of events throughout this past week, and the results were largely successful.
Competition started for the Irish on Oct. 13 when three team members headed to Harlingen, Texas, for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures Event. A tournament that featured professional-style contests, Notre Dame was able to send sophomore Tristan McCormick, senior Alex Lebedev and freshman Axel Nefve, and Nefve was fortunate enough to secure a bye to the main draw. McCormick and Lebedev started in the qualifying round where Lebedev got as far as the third round before falling short of the main draw. Nefve was able to win his first match, defeating the 750th-ranked player in the world and advancing to play at a later date.
A few days later, Notre Dame hosted the ITA Midwest Regional tournament in which team members sophomore Richard Ciamarra and McCormick earned a spot in the ITA Fall Championships next month in Surprise, Arizona. Over the course of the five day competition, the Irish played host to 19 schools and 184 student-athletes, and they saw a lot of positive results. Senior Daniel Rayl defeated his opponents in six-straight sets on Day 1 in singles, and three Notre Dame pairings advanced to the final round of matches in doubles on Day 2, those being sophomore William Howells and Lebedev, senior Grayson Broadus and junior Matt Gamble, and the pairing that eventually took home the championship in Ciamarra and McCormick.
On the week, Irish head coach Ryan Sachire was quite pleased with his team’s performance.
“First commenting on the Futures results from Texas, obviously it was a great win for Axel Nefve to beat a player ranked in the top 750 in the world and he’ll pick up some more ATP points. It was an awesome accomplishment for him and he was playing some awesome tennis down in Texas,” Sachire said. “Clearly the regional championships was a very successful one for our team. I think five of our guys made it to the Round of 16. … I think it shows the depth and the quality of depth that we have on our roster and within our program right now, so I’m definitely pleased and happy with how they performed. Certainly for Richard Ciamarra and Tristan McCormick to win the doubles championships at the Midwest regionals was awesome. … I thought it was a really good week for the team and we keep on improving on what we’ve done and we need to continue to do that over the next few weeks as we close out our fall season.”
As Sachire mentioned, the Irish are well into their fall season and only have a few competitions remaining in the semester. As such, the hope is for the team to rest up in the two week break they have coming up and get ready to close things out on a high note.
“First and foremost we have to get healthy,” Sachire said. “I think we had a really good week of training here before the regionals and then the regionals was a lot of matches, so I think each of our guys has to get back to a good place health wise. Once we get back in the swing of things, it’ll be about identifying one or two things in each guy’s singles game and attacking those and hoping to see improvement in just a couple of areas, not anything too big …just get a little better in doubles too, and I think that will come from practice and repping out fundamentals and executing a little bit cleaner.”
Notre Dame will next be in action Nov. 2 when they head to a pair of events, one being the Red Bird Invitational at Indiana University and the other being the Gopher Invitational at Minnesota University.