Notre Dame puts on impressive performance at Dick Vitale Invitational
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, November 5, 2019
The Notre Dame men’s tennis team put on quite the performance at the Dick Vitale Clay Court Invitational over the weekend in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Four players — sophomore Axel Nefve, junior William Howells, senior Conor Somers and senior Jonathan Small — traveled down south to compete in doubles and singles competitions.
Nefve and Howells played together in doubles, and they handled their competition swiftly throughout the tournament. The powerful duo started the tournament with a victory Friday morning, defeating the duo of Dabek and Durham, hailing from Navy, by a score of 8-4. Moving onto the quarterfinals, the combo defeated juniors Nick Beaty and Harrison Brown of Michigan 8-7 to advance to the semifinals. That quarterfinals match featured a tiebreaker in which Nefve and Howells fought back from down 4-1 to claim six-straight points and the match victory.
The duo faced another tiebreaker in the semifinals, this time against juniors Brian Berdusco and Andy Andrade of Florida, and Nefve and Howells managed to hang on once again, winning 8-7 (5) to advance to the finals of the doubles tournament.
On Sunday morning, Nefve and Howells faced off against sophomores Fabien Salle and Sergio Hernandez of Louisville, and the two secured the title for the Irish by a score of 8-5.
Nefve also put on a show in the singles competitions. After losing his first match in the main draw to sophomore Ivan Yatsuk of the University of Southern Florida by a score of 5-6, 6-2, Nefve fought back to make it to the consolation singles finals. In the first round, he beat freshman Patrick Cacciatore, hailing from Florida, 6-1, 6-4, and in the next round he defeated freshman Richard Thongoana of Florida State 6-2, 6-1.
Nefve would go on to advance to the finals Saturday morning, when he faced Salle of Louisville, whom he would go on to face in doubles play the next day, and defeated him 6-3, 6-4. Finally, Sunday morning, the same day on which he and Howells grabbed the doubles title for the Irish, Nefve won against freshman Michael Heller from Duke 6-3, 7-6 (6) after a tiebreaker to claim the finals title of the singles consolation draw.
Somers and Small also entered the doubles tournament over the weekend, but the duo fell in the first round of play. Each player was also unable to secure a win in the singles tournament.
Up next for the Irish are the ITA National Fall Championships, which will begin Wednesday in Newport Beach, California. For Notre Dame, junior Richard Ciamarra will participate in singles, and junior Tristan McCormick will accompany him in the doubles tournament.
The tournament features 128 of the nation’s top singles players — 64 men and 64 women — and 64 of the best doubles teams in the nation — 32 men’s teams and 32 women’s teams. Taking place at The Tennis Club, it is the only tournament on the collegiate tennis calendar to feature players from all five divisions. The first round of the men’s doubles tournament will begin for McCormick and Ciamarra on Wednesday morning, and Ciamarra will begin his singles tournament run on the same morning.