ND peaks at 11th nationally, receives NCAA Tournament berth
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 17, 2019
Notre Dame finished its season with a solid record and an NCAA Tournament berth. The Irish (17-15, 5-7 ACC) ranked as high as the 11th team in the country for parts of the year. Their strength this year allowed them to qualify for the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. The Irish were unable to advance, as they lost a close match to Vanderbilt 4-3 in the opening round.
The men’s tennis season is a year-round affair. They began play in September at tournaments all around the country. In one of these tournaments, the Gopher Challenge at Minnesota, junior Matt Gamble and senior Grayson Broadus were named Gopher Invitational Champions, earning a doubles win and seven singles victories between the pair. Freshman Axel Nefve and sophomore William Howells also enjoyed success in another one of these fall tournaments, taking first and second, respectively, at the Dick Vitale Clay Court Invitational on the same day.
As the regular season began play, the Irish had high hopes, as they were ranked 18th in the country in the preseason rankings. They got off to a hot start, winning eight of their first nine matches, climbing steadily in the rankings. As the season progressed and the competition stiffened, the Irish dropped more and more close matches.
The team qualified for the ACC Tournament and went in as the ninth seed. They convincingly defeated the No. 8 seed Virginia Tech in the first round 4-0 before falling to eventual champion Wake Forest in a close match 4-3.
The squad also qualified for the NCAA Tournament, where they faced Vanderbilt in the first round. Two of three doubles pairs lost, and the Irish were unable to overcome the deficit in singles play, splitting three-and-three. This gave the Irish a close 4-3 loss to the Commodores, but the season is not over for the entire team.
Other individual honors for the Irish came when the All-ACC honors were announced. Nefve earned Second Team All-ACC honors, while Lebedev and Ciamarra were both named to the All-ACC Third Team.
Three players qualified for the NCAA Individual Championship: Senior Alex Lebedev made it for the singles tournament, and the doubles duo composed of sophomores Richard Ciamarra and Tristan McCormick qualified as well. Play for the individual tournament begins Monday.