Joanne Norell | January 22, 2018
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.