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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Trip south should be demanding

After a gritty 4-3 loss to Vanderbilt, the situation for the IU men's tennis team doesn't get any easier.\nThe Hoosiers (5-2) travel south to take on Middle Tennessee State 10 a.m Sunday. The Hoosiers lost their lone road match this year at Louisville Jan. 24, while the Blue Raiders (4-0) defeated Louisville earlier this season at home. \nIU holds a 3-1 all-time mark against the Blue Raiders, and the Hoosiers are looking forward to the challenge they will present. \nCoach Ken Hydinger spoke highly of both them and of his team's chances. \n"It's a big match," Hydinger said. \nHe added that it's an opportunity to get a good road victory in a hostile environment, and he highlighted that this type of game will prepare his team for the Big Ten season. \nThe Hoosiers have only two more matches before they begin conference play at Northwestern March 2. \nHydinger said everything they will face Sunday will help them later on in the season. \nThe environment and venue will be instrumental. The matches will be held at the Racquet Club in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Hydinger said the crowd will be aggressive, and in addition to the atmosphere, he thinks this match could help secure an NCAA Tournament bid. \n"With a win we can build our NCAA Tournament resume," he said. \nIU has been hampered by injuries. Senior Rahman Smiley has had a sore back is slated to only play doubles, but depending on how he feels, Hydinger said Smiley could play singles, as well. Freshman Jakub Praibis will fill in at No. 2 singles for Smiley. Senior Milan Rakvica recently has had a bad back but is expected to play in both singles and doubles. \nIn order for the team to be successful Sunday, Rakvica, who is 6-1 in spring singles, said it needs to get off to a good start with doubles. The Hoosiers have lost the doubles point in their last three matches. Rakvica said it's a team lapse in concentration. \nRakvica said all players are performing really well right now; they just need to be more relaxed.\nFreshman Ryan Recht, who is 4-3 in spring doubles, agreed with Rakvica about the team simply relaxing. \n"We need to play our game," Recht said. \nRecht said that it's going to be a tough match because it's on the road, but he has confidence in the squad. \nConfidence seems to be emerging from the freshmen, and their records show it. Praibis is 6-1 in spring singles and 4-2 in doubles, while freshman Tom Bagnato is 4-1 in singles but hasn't played doubles. Recht is 1-3 in singles. \nIU played three freshmen in both singles and doubles against Vanderbilt. \nThe Blue Raiders boast a strong club. At No. 1 singles, they have 12th-ranked Daniel Klemetz. The Blue Raiders also bring in 27th-ranked Robert Gustafsson at the No. 2 position.\nRecht is cognizant of Middle Tennessee State's talent. He said their top singles guy is tough and that they are strong at doubles, too. Recht said he anticipates them to have a win-at-all-costs attitude. \nBut Rakvica believes the Hoosiers will be fine if they play like they did against Vanderbilt. \n"We need to come out and fight hard," Rakvica said.

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