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IU men’s tennis can’t ride with the Red Raiders



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Then-junior Raheel Manji celebrates his doubles win against Princeton on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in Bloomington. IU lost to Vanderbilt and defeated Saint Louis this weekend. Josh Eastern Buy Photos

The IU men’s tennis team could not match No. 24 Texas Tech on Saturday as they fell to the Red Raiders, 5-2.

In their second battle against a ranked opponent this year, IU fared just slightly better against Texas Tech than they did against No. 5 USC earlier in the season. The Hoosiers won two singles matches this weekend as opposed to picking up only one victory against the Trojans last month.

The Hoosiers earned wins from junior Antonio Cembellin, who dispatched his opponent in straight sets, and sophomore Bennett Crane, who picked up a win in a tight three-set match.

Crane and his doubles partner, sophomore Payam Ahmadi, were leading in their doubles set before stumbling late in the first set. Texas Tech grabbed that set as well as one other to take the doubles point to start the match.

Cembellin’s singles win tied up the score, but Texas Tech quickly regained the lead and never lost it after that.

IU had four players take their matches into a decisive third set, but Crane was the only one to win his. After being down an early break, he fought back to bring the first set into a tiebraker. He lost the tiebreaker but went on to take the next two sets and ultimately the match.

“It was good tennis on my part,” Crane said. “It was tough for the team considering we weren’t able to get the team victory which is always the most important thing.”

Despite the losing effort, IU Coach Jeremy Wurtzman wasn’t disappointed in his team’s play. 

“I thought our level on all courts was pretty good and we just came up slightly short,” Wurtzman said. “Every spot was kind of up in the air and we definitely were close to getting four points.”

The Red Raiders were the ones that reached that clinching fourth point first though, handing the Hoosiers their third road loss of the season and maintaining their own perfect home record. 

IU has played competitively with ranked teams so far this season, but haven’t been able to get the results in the end. IU has played eight three-set matches against USC and Texas Tech combined but have only won two of them.

“It’s tough because you got to be mentally strong to be able to rebound from these but I definitely think we’re capable of a lot,” Crane said. “We just got to keep working hard and putting our minds to it and I think the results will come from that.”

For IU, this loss brings their record to 5-4 on the year. The Hoosiers will have a quick turnaround as their next match is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Purdue. 

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