Notre Dame, IN– Sunday night’s match was the most intense matchup that Eck Tennis Pavilion has seen so far this season. The Irish fought with all they had but came up just short as No. 4 Michigan claimed the 4-3 victory. However, many Irish players downed ranked Wolverine competitors. No. 10 Richard Ciamarra soared past No. 17 Andrew Fenty with a 6-3, 6-2 victory. No. 98 Tristan McCormick also clinched a win over No. 112 nationally-ranked competitor, Mattais Siimar, in just two quick sets, 6-1,6-2.
“Give full credit to Michigan. They have a very good team this year and they took it from us today. We had some strong performances today and we are improving," stated Head Coach Ryan Sachire. "We need to continue on that path of development as a group and take our opportunities a little bit better the next time we find ourselves in the type of match we played today.”
Court 2 started things off right for the Irish. Richard Ciamarra and Matt Gamble were the first to finish a doubles match against their Michigan competitors. They not only finished first, but claimed the first doubles win of the day as they downed Connor Johnston and Connor Styler, 6-4. Guillermo Cabrera and Paul Gota were the next to finish up after going back forth throughout but were unable to pull out a win as Nick Beaty and Harrison Brown defeated the Irish duo, 4-6. On court 1, No. 29 Tristan McCormick and Axel Nefve were off to an amazing start as they went on a 3-0 run to start off their doubles match. However, the Wolverines were on Notre Dame’s tail as they managed to get it within one, 4-3. After a long and very hard-fought battle, the No. 29 ranked pair fell to No. 2 Andrew Fenty and Mattais Siimar. Even though the Irish duo fell a little bit short, it was a gritty and very impressive performance to watch the pair compete at a high level against such a highly ranked doubles team.
Matthew Gamble was the first to finish up on court 5 as he dropped to his Michigan competition within two, 6-0, 6-1. Tristan McCormick came in clutch as he snagged the first point for the Irish as he downed Mattais Siimar on court 3, 6-1, 6-2. No. 10 Richard Ciamarra finished up next as he defeated his No. 17 ranked Wolverine, Andrew Fenty, within two quick sets 6-3, 6-2, ultimately tying things up at 2-2. The Wolverine’s got ahead by 1 as No. 87 Connor Johnston defeated Guillermo Cabrera, 6-2, 6-4. With Michigan in the lead, it all came down to court 2 and court 6, side-by-side. Connor Fu went to three sets on court 2 as he claimed the first set, 6-1, then dropped the second in a tiebreak, 7-6 (4), with the third deciding whether the Irish move into another tie or the Wolverines go home with a win. Fu was relentless and finally clinched the third set, 6-1, making it anyones match at this point. The energy in the Pavilion was practically indescribable. With the largest turn out so far this year, everyone in the crowd was cheering for every single second of the final singles match. On court 2, Axel Nefve dropped the first set before prevailing in the second, 6-3. With everyone on the edge of their seats, Nefve fought tooth and nail until the very last second, but Michigan barely scrapped by to snag the third set, 7-5, advancing the Wolverines to the 4-3 victory.
First and foremost, I loved how we competed as a team today. It was an awesome match and I can’t wait to get back out there on Friday against Louisville," said No. 10 Richard Ciamarra. "Unfortunately, it’s a gutting loss but we are going to take confidence from it and continue to build as a unit. We need to lean on one another more than we ever have this week as we prepare for our upcoming matches. As for my match, I thought I played really well. I like how my game is coming along as we continue throughout the season. Really looking forward to getting back out there with the team.
The Irish compete in the final home matchup of February before hitting the road for about a month on Friday, February 28 against Louisville at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Michigan 4, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME 3
1. #10 RICHARD CIAMARRA (ND) def. #17 Andrew Fenty (MICH) 6-3, 6-2
2. #32 Ondrej Styler (MICH) def. AXEL NEFVE (ND) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
3. #98 TRISTAN MCCORMICK (ND) def. #112 Mattias Siimar (MICH) 6-1, 6-2
4. #87 Connor Johnston (MICH) def. GUILLERMO CABRERA (ND) 6-2, 6-4
5. Nick Beaty (MICH) def. MATTHEW GAMBLE (ND) 6-0, 6-1
6. CONNOR FU (ND) def. Patrick Maloney (MICH) 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1
1. #2 Andrew Fenty/Mattias Siimar (MICH) def. #29 TRISTAN MCCORMICK/AXEL NEFVE (ND) 7-5
2. RICHARD CIAMARRA/MATTHEW GAMBLE (ND) def. Ondrej Styler/Connor Johnston (MICH) 6-4
3. Harrison Brown/Nick Beaty (MICH) def. GUILLERMO CABRERA/PAUL GOTA (ND) 6-4 Match Notes: Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,3,1,4,6,2)