March 14, 2018
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team will face one of the nation’s top teams before returning to Atlantic Coast Conference action this weekend as the Irish face Texas A&M on Thursday and Virginia on Sunday as part of their Spring Break road trip.
WHO: No. 18/25 Notre Dame (10-6, 2-0 ACC) vs. No. 6/4 Texas A&M (10-3, 3-0 SEC)
WHERE: Mitchell Tennis Center | College Station, Texas
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET Thursday
WHO: No. 18/25 Notre Dame vs. Virginia (7-5, 0-1 ACC)
WHERE: Snyder Tennis Center | Charlottesville, Va.
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Last Time Out
The Irish swept a doubleheader last Saturday, defeating conference foe Louisville 4-3 before upending DePaul 6-1 in the nightcap at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish dropped the doubles point to the Cardinals but got singles wins from Tristan McCormick, Guillermo Cabrera, Alex Lebedev and the clincher from Grayson Broadus to take the win. Notre Dame defeated DePaul in doubles and at five singles spots to get to the double-digit mark in wins on the season.
On The Aggies
Texas A&M has sat in the top 10 all season, with its only losses coming against No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 UCLA in the semifinal of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and to Oklahoma.
The Aggies boast five ranked singles players, including four in the top 40 — No. 10 Arthur Rinderknech (10-1 at No. 2), No. 27 Patrick Kypson (6-5 at No. 1), No. 31 Valentin Vacherot (8-2 at No. 4), No. 37 Jordi Arconada (11-2 at No. 3) and No. 109 AJ Catanzariti (1-2). In doubles, they are anchored by No. 14 Juan Carlos Aguilar and Arconada (3-3) and No. 37 Rinderknech and Kypson (3-1).
Notre Dame is 4-5 all-time against Texas A&M, and it will be the first meeting under Callaghan Family Head Men’s Tennis Coach Ryan Sachire. The last meeting came on April 9, 2012, when the Irish defeated the Aggies 4-3 in College Station.
The Irish are 2-0 in matches played in the state of Texas this season, having defeated the No. 8 Longhorns and Minnesota during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in January.
On The Cavaliers
Virginia will play Boston College on Friday before closing the weekend against the Irish in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers opened the season at No. 12 in the Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s National Team Rankings, but have since fallen out of the top 50 with five losses entering the weekend.
No. 28 Aswin Lizen leads Virginia with a 9-2 dual record between the top three spots in the lineup, while No. 74 Carl Söderlund is 4-1 at No. 1 singles.
The Irish came in at No. 18 in this week’s Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s National Team Rankings, up one spot since last week’s poll release. The USTA Collegiate Rankings dropped the Irish two slots to No. 25
Freshmen Figuring In
The Irish have seen three of their four freshmen earn starting spots so far this season, with Tristan McCormick, Richard Ciamarra and William Howells playing regularly in both singles and doubles. Ciamarra leads the team with a 11-4 dual singles record, while also posting a 7-5 mark in doubles with sophomore partner Matt Gamble. McCormick is 8-7 in singles and 5-7 at No. 1 doubles, ranking at No. 55 with senior partner Brendon Kempin. Howells joined the starting singles lineup recently and is 4-2 in dual matches this season.
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.