Jan. 21, 2018
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team is off to its best start since 2014, collecting wins over Kentucky and Cleveland State on Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion to improve to 3-0.
The Irish defeated a Kentucky team that is receiving votes in the most recent Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings, winning 4-3 over the Wildcats. Notre Dame capped the day with a 5-2 win over the Vikings.
It’s the best start for an Irish team since the 2014 squad opened the dual season 5-0.
How It Happened
The Irish snared an early advantage over the Wildcats, earning convincing victories on doubles Courts 2 and 3 to take a 1-0 lead. On Court 2, freshman William Howells and junior Alex Lebedev defeated Austin Hussey and William Bushamuka 6-1. Then, freshman Richard Ciamarra and sophomore Matt Gamble clinched the point with a 6-3 win over Trey Yates and Gus Benson.
Kentucky evened the match when No. 34 Ryotaro Matsumura defeated Matt Gamble on Court 2, but the Irish won the next three matches to win their first match against Kentucky since 2015. Junior Grayson Broadus won his second straight match, defeating Kento Yamada 6-2, 6-2 on Court 6. Ciamarra followed with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Hussey at No. 5, improving to 2-0, while Lebedev upended Bushamuka 6-3, 6-3 for the clinching point.
As an afterthought, Kentucky won the remaining matches on Courts 3 and 4, but the Irish walked away with the victory.
The Irish got a test from the Vikings doubles lineup, but remained undefeated in doubles in 2018 with wins on Courts 1 and 3. Howells and Lebedev improved to 3-0 with a 6-3 win over Ben Slade and Mirko Radosevic at No. 1. Junior Nathan Griffin and freshman Paul Gota clinched the point with a 6-4 win over Luke Phillips and William Malm after going down 2-3 early.
Three quick singles wins propelled the Irish to victory. Freshman Tristan McCormick breezed to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Gabriel Evtimov on Court 3, followed by a swift 6-2, 6-1 win for junior Nathan Griffin at No. 6. Ciamarra cinched the win with a 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 2 spot.
The Irish weathered challenges on the remaining courts. After going down 1-4 in the first set, Gota rallied to win 6-4, 7-6(3) against Slade. Howells also came back to win the first set 6-4 after a 1-4 start, but ultimately fell to Phillips 4-6, 7-6, 10-6 at No. 4. Gamble also fell at No. 1 singles.
On the 3-0 start…
“I think we know we’re a pretty good team, but when you have a lot of young guys, sometimes you need to see the proof that you can win a match, and we did. This 2018 team is off to a great start, and the winning results reinforce what I think we’ve believe, but it certainly is nice to come out on top of the scoreboard three times in the first weekend.”
On who stepped up…
“I think you have to start with Leb (Alex Lebedev). He’s just really good. He just took apart a really good player from Kentucky (in William Bushamuka), a senior who’s been a top All-America level player for the last three years. It was a huge win for us to clinch the win (over Kentucky). Then you look at Richie Ciamarra to go 3-0 on the weekend (in singles) and he played some good players. (Jasper Koenen) from Michigan State, has played No. 2 previously; (Austin Hussey) from Kentucky is a winner; and (Matt Terry) from Cleveland State is really good. What a great start for him. But I think a lot of guys are doing a lot of good things, but we have a lot of things we can improve and learn from this weekend.”
On the importance of the doubles point and going undefeated in doubles so far…
“It’s a huge point. We emphasize it and work on it. It’s only one point, but oftentimes it’s a key point. If we can continue playing at that level and continue to improve and grow, that’ll be really beneficial for us long-term.”
Notes To Know
- Richard Ciamarra leads the Irish with a 3-0 dual singles record in 2018. Grayson Broadus and Alex Lebedev improved to 2-0 on the season.
- Junior Alex Lebedev is 4-0 in his career at No. 1 singles.
- The doubles duo of Richard Ciamarra and Matt Gamble improved to 2-0 on the season, while William Howells and Alex Lebedev stretched their record to 3-0.
- Freshmen William Howells and Paul Gota earned their first starts in singles against Cleveland State. Gota also got his first doubles start against the Vikings.
- The Irish are undefeated in doubles through three matches this season (6-0, three matches abandoned).
- The Irish evened the series with Kentucky at 17-17-1 and improved to 4-2 against the Wildcats under Callaghan Family Head Men’s Tennis Coach Ryan Sachire.
- Notre Dame won the first meeting between the Irish and Cleveland State.
- Notre Dame’s 3-0 start is its best since opening the 2014 season 6-0.
Notre Dame 4, Kentucky 3
Jan. 21, 2018
Eck Tennis Pavilion
Notre Dame, Ind.
1. No. 45 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 84 William Bushamuka (UK) 6-3, 6-3
2. No. 34 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. Matt Gamble (ND) 6-2, 6-1
3. Enzo Wallart (UK) def. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) 6-1, 4-6, 10-5
4. No. 77 Trey Yates (UK) def. Tristan McCormick (ND) 7-6(2), 6-2
5. Richard Ciamarra (ND) def. Austin Hussey (UK) 6-4, 6-4
6. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Kento Yamada (UK) 6-4, 6-4
1. Brendon Kempin / Tristan McCormick (ND) vs. Cesar Bourgois / Enzo Wallart (UK), 4-4 unfinished
2. William Howells / Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Austin Hussey / William Bushamuka (UK) 6-1
3. Richard Ciamarra / Matt Gamble (ND) def. Trey Yates / Gus Benton (UK) 6-3
Notre Dame 5, Cleveland State 2
Jan. 21, 2018
Eck Tennis Pavilion
Notre Dame, Ind.
1. Nico Mostardi (CSU) def. Matt Gamble (ND) 7-6(2), 6-4
2. Richard Ciamarra (ND) def. Matt Terry (CSU) 6-2, 6-4
3. Tristan McCormick (ND) vs. Gabriel Evtimov (CSU) 6-3, 6-0
4. Luke Phillips (CSU) def. William Howells (ND) 4-6, 7-6, 10-6
5. Paul Gota (ND) def. Ben Slade (CSU) 6-4, 7-6(3)
6. Nathan Griffin (ND) vs. Mirko Radosevic (CSU) 6-2, 6-1
1. William Howells / Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Ben Slade / Mirko Radosevic (CSU) 6-3
2. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) vs. Nico Mostardi / Matt Terry (CSU) 5-5, unfinished
3. Paul Gota / Nathan Griffin (ND) def. Luke Phillips / William Malm (CSU) 6-4
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men's tennis and fencing programs, in addition to assisting with football communications and overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master's degree from Georgetown University in 2013.