Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

Lebedev falls in ITA Round of 16 as Irish close out fall season

Most of the Irish closed out their fall schedule at the Gopher Invitational this past weekend at the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis. Junior Alex Lebedev participated at the ITA Fall Championships in California.

In singles action on Friday in Minneapolis, sophomore Guillermo Cabrera won his match in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Freshman William Howells lost the first set of his match 6-4 before rebounding to win the final two sets 6-4, 10-4. Junior Grayson Broadus (6-4, 6-4) and senior Brendon Kempin (6-4, 6-3) both won their matches in straight sets.

In doubles action Friday, the doubles pair of freshman Richard Ciamarra and Broadus won their match 6-2.

In singles quarterfinals action, Cabrera (2-6, 6-3, 10-6) and Howells (7-5, 6-7(1), 10-3) won close matches to advance to the semifinal round.

In semifinal action on Saturday, Howells emerged victorious in his singles match 7-6, 6-3 and in doubles with partner Cabrera 6-4.

They were unable to win in the championship round however, as both Cabrera (6-3, 0-6, 10-8) and Howells (6-3, 4-6, 10-2) fell individually in singles and as a pair in doubles (6-4).

Notre Dame head coach Ryan Sachire said he thought his team played well this past weekend, also saying Lebedev played well at the ITA Fall Championships in California.

“Overall we played pretty well,” Sachire said. “Alex Lebedev played in a big national event out in California called the ITA Fall championships and did a great job out there playing really well. He had good wins and that was a tournament that basically had all the best players in the country, and he did great. The rest of the guys went to a tournament at Minnesota. When you have 12 guys competing, I think everyone played eight matches with four singles and four doubles, you’re going to have plenty of wins and plenty of losses. So from a team perspective you have every result imaginable, but I think overall it was good and it was a good way to close out our fall season.”

Sachire said he saw a good amount of growth from his team this weekend.

“I thought that a few guys really made some growth and made some progress in terms of conquering situations and being successful in situations that would’ve given them trouble in the past, and as a coach that is what you want to see,” Sachire said. “You want to see growth and improvement and you don’t want to see the same mistakes over and over again, and I thought we had guys who stepped up and did that this weekend. So that was good to see and hopefully we can continue down the right path.”

Sachire said his team will continue to improve their consistency in doubles and with serving.

“I think consistency in our doubles play,” Sachire said. “We had some up and down results, which was OK. But I think being a little more consistent in terms of how we play, the energy that we play with, the confidence that we play with, is going to be a big key. In college tennis, especially indoors, so much of it relates back to the serve and the return of serve. I think as the year unfolds, continuing to really emphasize that in our practices and have guys get better and better in terms of starting points, both as server and as returner.”

Sachire said his players have improved throughout the course of the fall season, but there is still some work to be done.

“I think a lot of individual pieces have improved,” Sachire said. “Alex Lebedev certainly has cemented his confidence and consistent ability to win against elite national competition. And he’ll need that. He’s likely going to start the year as No. 1 for us and you are going to need to display that week in and week out. I think other guys have certainly made jumps as well. Our fall season is over now, there are no more competitions in the fall, so the next time we will compete will be in January for our first dual match. So we have some time here to grow and get better. I think what I want from our guys is as this semester winds down and we start next year is some of our younger guys, sophomores mainly who have been in key roles for our team now for three semesters, is to step up and begin to be more leaders on this team and to take hold of the team and the culture a little more than they have. And it’s a totally normal progression, so that is something I kind of want to see them do over the next couple of months.”

Notre Dame’s first match of the spring season will take place Jan. 19 against Michigan State at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.