Notre Dame Men’s Tennis takes first-round exit from NCAA tournament

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The 27th ranked Columbia University Lions topped the Notre Dame Men’s Tennis team on Friday by a score of 4-2 in round one of the NCAA Tennis Championships in Columbus Ohio.

The Irish came out strong, winning doubles matchups 2-1, earning them a one-to-nothing lead.

The day started off with a 6-4 No. 2 doubles victory for the team of junior Matthew Halpin and sophomore Jean-Marc Malkowski. The team also garnered a win at the top of the lineup with the upperclassmen duo of Matthew Che and Axel Nefve beating the Lions in a tightly contested 7-5 contest.  

Columbia battled back to tie, winning the top four spots in the singles lineup, with the Irish taking the bottom three.

The Lions took their first lead of the day when junior Connor Fu dropped a single’s match 2-1 to Columbia’s Henry Ruger.

The Irish responded with their second point of the day coming in another singles contest between Che and Columbia’s freshman Max Westphal in a 6-4 win.

The final two points went the way of the Lions following two Notre Dame losses at the five and six singles spots.

Despite the overall team’s exit from the tournament, Nefve will represent the Irish in the NCAA Singles Individual tournament for the second straight year as he finishes with a national ranking of 57th.

Nefve moving on marks the 17th straight year that a Notre Dame player will participate in both the doubles and the individual’s tournament, which takes place May 23 at the University of Illinois.

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