Men’s tennis to resume play, host Wildcats
Connor Mulvena | Thursday, January 16, 2020
After a nearly two month break from play, No. 23 Notre Dame will resume its season when the team hosts the Kentucky Wildcats this Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
The matchup comes after a solid stretch of tennis for the Irish, as the fall season saw a number of standout individual and doubles performances.
When the Irish traveled to Minneapolis to compete in the Gopher Invitational from Nov. 8-10, the squad managed to tally 18 total victories between double and singles play in four rounds. Among those victories were those of freshman Matthew Che, who went 4-0 in singles play, defeating Daniel Krulig of Denver 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, Northwestern’s Simon Bratholm 7-6, 6-2, Minnesota’s Sebastian Vile 6-3, 1-6, 1-0 (7), and Minnesota’s Kaleb Dobbs 6-4, 6-4.
The squad’s fall campaign was also highlighted by a solid overall performance at the Dick Vitale Clay Court Invitational in Lakewood Ranch, Florida from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3. Most notably, sophomore Axel Nefve and junior William Howells handled their competition swiftly in doubles play, winning four matches and coming from behind 4-1 in the quarterfinals to eventually secure the tournament doubles title. Nefve would also go on to win the consolation singles finals, defeating Michael Heller of Duke 6-3, 7-6 (6) to snag the title.
Freshman Connor Fu and senior Johnathan Small showed out in the Vredevelt Invitational on Oct. 4th. Fu and Small both went undefeated in singles play, the only two competitors to go undefeated in singles play throughout the entire tournament. Small beat Illinois State’s Jorge Barta 6-1, 6-3 in his final match of tournament play, and Fu beat Michigan State’s Jarreau Campbell 6-3, 6-4 in his final contest of the tournament.
The Irish even had a standout performance on a national stage at the ITA Fall Nationals, where junior Richard Ciamarra managed to advance all the way to the semifinals, an impressive feat in a national tournament. Ciamarra put on a remarkably consistent performance in Newport Beach, California, winning four matches to reach the semifinals, where he fell in three close sets.
With this impressive mix of individual and group success, the Irish look to get things going on the right track again as the Wildcats come into town. The Irish faced off against the Wildcats last year, on Jan. 19, on the road in Lexington, Kentucky. The team took care of business in that contest, as Notre Dame tallied its first victory of the 2019 season with a 5-2 victory over Kentucky. The win sparked a six game winning streak which included two more road trips. During the match, Ciamarra and now junior Tristan McCormick won their set six games to three, which handed the Irish the doubles point early. Nefve also won his match in three sets, and now senior Guillermo Cabrera won in two straight sets. Notre Dame will look to repeat that stellar performance, this time on more familiar turf, and open the 2020 season with a decisive victory.