The IU men's tennis team participated in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend tournament and came away with one win and one loss.
The Hoosiers lost to No. 5-ranked University of Southern California on Friday but bounced back to beat Southern Methodist University on Saturday.
USC had singles players who were individually ranked within the top 100 in the nation. IU senior Raheel Manji was the only Hoosier to come into the tournament with a ranking, slotting in at No. 125.
The final score was far from ideal for IU as USC claimed the victory, 6-1. Regardless, the Hoosiers kept fighting all the way through.
“I felt like the level that we’re playing at was very high and that’s all we can really ask for from our guys,” IU Coach Jeremy Wurtzman said.
Playing at that level kept several matches close for the Hoosiers as four of the six singles matches went into decisive third sets.
Although IU could only pull out one of those matches, Wurtzman said he was still proud of how his team competed.
“For a few minutes there, we had a lot of momentum on four courts and it was great to be able to do that against a top-five team,” Wurtzman said. “We learned how we need to do a better job of finishing some of these matches and not just playing close.”
The one Hoosier who did finish his match on top was freshman Brandon Lam. Lam beat No. 82-ranked junior Jack Jaede in three sets. Jaede took the first set by the margin of just one, but it was Lam who went on to break his opponent multiple times throughout the next two sets to secure the Hoosier win.
“Once I got that first one under my belt, I was able to relax and settle into my game and make my shots,” Lam said. “I just felt confident after the first set that if I was able to string a few points together, I would be able to break him, and that’s what I did.”
Lam’s success may not have been contagious against the Trojans, but it certainly was against the Mustangs of SMU. The Hoosiers faced off against them in the Saturday consolation match, where IU won, 4-0.
IU junior Antonio Cembellin and sophomores Bennett Crane and Zac Brodney each picked up singles wins against the Mustangs. The other three Hoosier singles players were all leading in their matches before IU clinched the victory and halted play.
“We were again a great team out there and we put ourselves in the same exact positions to win the matches,” Wurtzman said. “I felt like the level of our tennis really took us through and we really dominated play against them.”
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