NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Coming off a marathon 4-3 victory against Virginia last Friday, the No. 18 Duke men’s tennis team tried to repeat the feat, but came up on the short end of a 5-2 decision at No. 30 Notre Dame inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Blue Devils trailed 3-0, got the match to 3-2 and had two three-set matches remaining, but ultimately fell on courts six and three to give the Fighting Irish the victory.
Duke (13-9, 4-3 ACC) had defeated Notre Dame (13-11, 4-4 ACC) by a 4-3 final in February at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship with junior Catalin Mateas securing the walk-off victory. Friday in South Bend it was the Fighting Irish’s Grayson Broadus with the clinching victory, defeating junior Ryan Dickerson 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 on court five, after the Blue Devils received singles wins from freshman Sean Sculley and sophomore Robert Levine.
The Fighting Irish started with a 1-0 lead thanks to the doubles point, capturing decisions on courts one and three. On court one, Tristan McCormick and Brendon Kempin defeated Sculley and sophomore Nick Stachowiak, 6-3. The Blue Devils quickly trailed 4-1 in the match. Duke cut the deficit to two games twice at 4-2 and 5-3, but Notre Dame held out for the win. Sculley and Stachowiak fall to 11-11 overall and are 6-9 in dual action and 1-3 in the ACC.
In two tight battles on courts two and three, Notre Dame pulled out the win with a 7-6 (3) decision by Richard Ciamarra and Broadus on court three against Dickerson and Levine. Neither side led by more than a game throughout and the set went into the tiebreaker, during which Notre Dame cruised. Dickerson and Levine were playing for their first time together this year.
The top two courts went quickly to the Fighting Irish in singles, pushing the home team’s advantage to 3-0. On court one, No. 55 Alex Lebedev downed No. 99 Mateas 6-0, 6-4. Mateas dropped the first seven games before evening the second set at 2-2 and then 4-4. Lebedev closed with a break and hold to end the match. Mateas slips to 11-10 overall, 6-7 in dual competition and 4-3 in ACC play.
Notre Dame’s lead swelled to 3-0 as Ciamarra downed Stachowiak 6-4, 6-2 on court two. Stachowiak jumped ahead 3-0 in the first set, but Ciamarra took six of the final seven games. In the second set, Stachowiak trailed 3-0. He was behind 5-2 before Ciamarra picked up the final game for the win. Stachowiak falls to 22-9 overall, 11-6 in dual action and 3-3 versus ACC foes.
Duke notched its first point on court four, where Levine defeated Matt Gamble 6-4, 6-1. Levine turned a 4-3 lead into the first set victory with a break and hold. After dropping the first game of the second set, Levine ripped off six straight to earn the win. Levine, who has won three straight and six of his last seven, ups his record to 11-7 overall, 8-6 in dual competition and 4-1 in ACC matches.
A fight to the finish by Sculley lifted him over McCormick 7-6 (8), 7-5 on court five. The two were even at 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 in the opening set before Sculley captured the tiebreaker. The second set had Sculley drop the first game but capture the next two to take a 2-1 advantage. Neither led by more than a game in the second set until Sculley broke and held to turn a 5-5 tie into the 7-5 win. Sculley ups his overall mark to 17-10 and is now 9-7 in dual matches and 5-1 in league action. His five league wins are the most on the squad.
The deciding point was secured by Broadus against Dickerson. Dickerson had a seemingly commanding lead in the opening set at 5-2, but Broadus stormed back with five-straight wins for the victory. In the second set, Dickerson pushed a 2-1 advantage into a 4-1 lead and held on to force a deciding set. The third set had Broadus lead 2-0 and 4-1 before closing out for the win. Dickerson drops to 16-12 overall, 9-9 in dual matches and 3-3 versus ACC competition.
It took three sets and a tiebreaker, but Guillermo Cabrera held off sophomore Spencer Furman for the Fighting Irish’s final point with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) win on court three. In the opening set, Furman led 3-2 and 4-3 before taking the last two games. The second set was even at 3-3 before Cabrera rattled off the final three to force the decider. In the final set, it was Furman who went on a late run, converting a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead. Cabrera answered with four consecutive games to lead 6-5. Furman responded with a hold to force the tiebreaker, but Cabrera finished the comeback. Furman slips to 14-10 overall, 4-7 in dual action and 2-4 in ACC play. Duke finishes off the weekend with an 11 a.m. Sunday home match against No. 40 Louisville.
#30 Notre Dame 5, #18 Duke 2
April 6, 2018 at Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
1. Brendon Kempin/Tristan McCormick (ND) def. Nick Stachowiak/Sean Sculley (DU) 6-3
2. Guillermo Cabrera/Alex Lebedev (ND) vs. Catalin Mateas/Jason Lapidus (DU) 5-6, unfinished
3. Richard Ciamarra/Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Ryan Dickerson/Robert Levine (DU) 7-6 (7-3)
1. #55 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. #99 Catalin Mateas (DU) 6-0, 6-4
2. Richard Ciamarra (ND) def. Nick Stachowiak (DU) 6-4, 6-2
3. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) def. Spencer Furman (DU) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
4. Robert Levine (DU) def. Matt Gamble (ND) 6-4, 6-1
5. Sean Sculley (DU) def. Tristan McCormick (ND) 7-6 (10-8), 7-5
6. Grayson Broadus (ND) def. Ryan Dickerson (DU) 7-5, 2-6, 6-2
Duke 13-9, 4-3 ACC; National ranking #18
Notre Dame 13-11, 4-4 ACC; National ranking #30
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,2,4,5,6,3)