NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish punched their ticket to the ITA Indoor Nationals in February, defeating the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners, 4-2, Sunday afternoon in Norman. Qualifying for the ITA Kickoff Weekend Championship match following their sweep over Vanderbilt on Saturday, the Irish will bring home the championship title and improve their season record to 3-0.
“I’m extremely proud of our players and coaches,” Head Coach Ryan Sachire said. “Oklahoma is a tremendous college tennis program, and they don’t lose often on their home courts. Our guys battled at every single position, and they always responded when the OU players raised their level and made runs at us.
“We are going to be in a bunch of close matches like this as our season progresses, and this will be a great experience to draw on moving forward,” he stated on the season ahead.
The Irish came out strong in doubles, claiming their third doubles point in as many matches this season. The No. 11 duo in the country in Richard Ciamarra and Tristan McCormick defeated Spencer Papa and Jake Van Emburgh of Oklahoma to give the Irish the advantage.
Court three was the next to finish as 49th-ranked doubles team Grayson Broadus and Matt Gamble secured the doubles point, winning the set 6-3 as court two remained unfinished.
The two teams split the first set of singles, with the No. 17 Irish taking courts three, five and six, while the No. 13-ranked Sooners claimed the others. After clinching the Irish sweep yesterday, No. 49 William Howells defeated Jochen Bertsch in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2 to earn the second point for the Irish. The Sooners then came within one when Spencer Papa defeated No. 16 Alex Lebedev 6-3, 6-4.
With both teams fighting for the title, the remaining four singles matches were forced to a third set to determine a victor. Tristan McCormick was the next to finish for the Irish to give them the 3-1 lead. Having dropped the first set 3-6, he powered through to claim the next two, 6-3 and 6-2.
Guillermo Cabrera secured the Irish victory when he beat Stefano Tsorotiotis 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in six singles to send the Irish to Chicago for the ITA Indoor Nationals next month.
“It was a tough match for sure,” Cabrera said of his win over Tsorotiotis to give the Irish the 4-2 finish. “The crowd was loud with a lot of people today. I think we did a great job overall today in all nine spots.”
No. 17 Notre Dame returns to Indiana to this weekend as they host their first home match of the season Friday, February 1 at 5 p.m. ET. The Irish are scheduled to take on the No. 16 Cavaliers of Virginia as they open Atlantic Coast Conference action with the match.
The team will host seven home matches before their trip to Chicago, including No. 9 Texas A&M at noon on Sunday, February 3.
The upcoming trip to the ITA Indoor Nationals will be the second consecutive appearance in the tournament.
Notre Dame Results
Order of Finish: 1, 3
1. #11 Ciamarra/McCormick (ND) def. Papa/Van Emburgh (OKLA), 6-4
2. Lebedev/Nefve (ND) vs, Calvo/Beiler (OKLA), 4-5, unfinished
3. #49 Gamble/Broadus (ND) def. Bakshi/Tsorotiotis (OKLA), 6-3
Order of Finish: 5, 1, 4, 3, 6
1. Spencer Papa (OKLA) def. #16 Alex Lebedev (ND), 6-3, 6-4
2. #63 Richard Ciamarra (ND) vs. Jake Van Emburgh (OKLA), 4-6, 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
3. Alex Bakshi (OKLA) def. Axel Nefve (ND), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2
4. Tristan McCormick (ND) def. Ferran Calvo (OKLA), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. #49 William Howells (ND) def. Jochen Bertsch (OKLA), 6-1, 6-2
6. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) Stefano Tsorotiotis (OKLA), 6-2, 3-6, 7-5