The IU men’s tennis team took down the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Friday in the first of three consecutive road matches for the Hoosiers.
IU clinched its first road win and handed MTSU its first home loss of the season with a score of 4-3.
In front of a large crowd in Murfreesboro, IU dropped the doubles point to begin play, but was able to bounce back and grind out a win in the competitive match.
“They had a lot of people, a lot of fans that came out to the match,” IU Coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “They were promoting the match for quite a while so we knew going in that we were going to get their best effort.”
After trailing 1-0 to start the day, the Hoosiers won two quick singles matches from sophomore Zac Brodney and senior Keivon Tabrizi to take a 2-1 lead. MTSU knotted up the score with a singles win of their own after junior Antonio Cembellin finished off his opponent in straight sets. Sophomore Bennett Crane then clinched the overall victory for IU with a tight three-set win.
“I was able to get the early break, and then my serve held up in the end there and my teammates pushed me through,” Crane said. “They were on the side supporting me, cheering me on and that pushed me through to the end.”
Supporting teammates was key for the Hoosiers on Friday as it helped combat the energy that MTSU and their fans brought to the match.
“You just got to stick with your team on the road, stick with your coaches and try to find the energy within yourselves to pull it out when you don’t have the fans by your side,” Crane said.
IU will not have the fans on their side for a little while longer, as the next two matches for the Hoosiers are also on the road. After Friday’s win, IU’s away record moved up to 1-2 on the season while their overall record sits at 5-3. Meanwhile, the Blue Raiders now have a home record of 6-1 and an overall record of 8-2.
The Hoosiers will be back in action on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas, when they take on Texas Tech. Later that week, IU will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, for their much awaited battle with rival Purdue.
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