Women's tennis drops its first match of the season



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Junior Natalie Whalen eyes a forehand during her 6-1, 6-4 singles loss to the University of Tennessee. IU lost to UT 4-3 on Sunday and are now 8-1 on the season. Sam House Buy Photos

The match started exactly how IU wanted.

Freshman Jelly Bozovic and sophomore Caitlin Bernard won 6-3 at No. 3 doubles, and the duo improved to 6-0 on the season.

After junior Madison Appel and freshman Michelle McKamey lost 6-2, it was going to come down to the No. 1 doubles match to decide the first point of the dual.

Freshman Olga Zavarotnaya and junior Natalie Whalen delivered, winning 6-4 behind strong play at the net.

IU headed into singles with a 1-0 lead, and the Hoosiers needed three singles victories to secure the win. 

Whalen lost 1-6, 6-4 to sophomore Ariadna Riley. Whalen has lost two in a row in the No. 3 singles spot after she fell to Eastern Kentucky senior Laura Argente 6-3, 6-4 on Friday.

Bozovic lost her first match of the season to sophomore Johanna Silva 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). She struggled with her backhand, leading to unforced errors.

“Jelly was fighting more with herself than anything,” IU Coach Ramiro Azcui said. “She never gave herself the opportunity to get in the match.” 

Azcui said the freshman will learn and grow from her loss.

Senior Xiwei Cai fell to sophomore Gabby Schuck 6-4, 7-5, and the Hoosiers trailed 3-1.

Yet, the Hoosiers kept fighting back, and Bernard put the Hoosiers within one point when she took down junior Elizabeth Profit 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Tennessee clinched the match when freshman Kaitlin Staines defeated McKamey 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

IU is no longer undefeated after losing to Tennessee 4-3 on Sunday. It was also McKamey's first loss on the season as well.

McKamey said she was playing in control in the first set, not so much in the second set and was even in control in the third set until the end. McKamey said she is going to have a lot of matches that are up and down like that. 

“She came up with some great shots at the end of the match and sometimes you just have to clap your hand on your racquet and say good shot,” McKamey said. “We have to be able to step our game up another level like they did at the end of some of their matches.”

Appel finished her match, despite Tennessee winning the dual.

Appel defeated junior Sadie Hammond 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. Appel is 7-0 in singles this season. 

“This was the first true test that we had,” Azcui said. “Now we know what to expect. I don’t think the freshmen realized what kind of team they are and what to expect.”

Azcui said he thinks Tennessee is a tournament team, and is happy with the way his team played against them. Through this, though, Azcui said he still wants to see improvements from his team.

“It’s opportunity for them to realize where we are and where we need to go from here,” Azcui said. “Today I saw that we can compete at the highest level, and that’s what you want to see when you have a young team."

Azcui said his team will not dwell on this game, and IU will start looking towards Notre Dame on February 18. 

“We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Azcui said. 

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