Irish look to respond against Boston College
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, February 6, 2020
After a close loss against Indiana in Bloomington, the Irish will travel to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to face Boston College on Friday. This match serves as an opportunity for Notre Dame (2-3) to earn both their first victory in ACC competition and their first true road win of the spring season.
The Irish have struggled against ranked opponents, losing to both Kentucky and Arizona last month. With upcoming clashes against No. 13 Illinois and No. 6 Ohio State on the horizon, Notre Dame needs to establish momentum against the Eagles in order to perform well against the two Big 10 powerhouses.
Notre Dame has a very talented roster and could definitely cause some trouble for the top ACC programs.
The Irish are led by junior Richard Ciamarra. After being named to the All-ACC Third Team last season, Ciamarra will have the chance to prove that he is among the elite of men’s collegiate tennis, but it will be difficult to live up to the large amount of preseason hype surrounding him. Ciamarra currently holds a 3-2 record in singles competition and could use another win to create a rhythm as the season progresses.
Sophomore Axel Nefve enters the year with the ability to compete with any player in the country. He has gone 3-2 in singles play and is coming off a standout freshman season, in which he was named to the All-ACC Second team and won the Dick Vitale Clay Court Invitational.
Freshman Conner Fu has started to break into the MatchDay lineup and recently earned his first spring season singles victory against Florida Atlantic. If Fu continues to elevate his game, he could follow in Nefve’s example and become the freshman breakout star of 2020.
Boston College (1-2) is looking for a return to form after being trounced by Virginia 1-6. Because they went 0-13 in ACC play last season, the Eagles will be highly motivated to record the school’s first conference win since 2018.
Junior Derek Austin is a very skilled player and could prove to be a difficult opponent for Ciamarra on court one. Last season, Austin collected a few important upsets over highly ranked opponents before becoming the first BC player since 2012 to be named on an All-ACC team.
Friday’s match will be played at 12 p.m. Notre Dame will then travel to Urbana, Illinois to challenge a talented Fighting Illini team.
Illinois’ season has not gone according to plan, as they have managed to only win a single match due to a difficult strength of schedule. However, with the support of their home crowd, the Illini will be tough to beat.
The next chance for fans to support the Irish is on Feb. 22, when the Buckeyes travel to South Bend. Ohio State is 6-0 on the season and has only dropped one point in dual matches. This contest could be the most exciting of the year, as both teams have very serious postseason aspirations.