IU coach Randy Bloemendaal tried time and again to explain to his players that they could compete with any team or athlete in the nation before last weekend’s UVA Ranked Plus One tournament.
It took junior Lachlan Ferguson and sophomore Maxime Armengaud one day to figure that out.
Both players dropped their first match of the weekend before rallying to win seven of their last eight matches overall.
Ferguson and Armengaud will get another opportunity at this weekend’s All American Pre-Qualifier in Tulsa, Okla. Sophomore Jeremy Langer and freshman Alex van Gils will also compete for the Hoosiers.
“I think it’s just like this last weekend,” Bloemendaal said. “I think we are going to go in and find that we are good enough, but the challenge will be getting the guys to see that that is the level we need to be playing at.
It’s a mind-set thing, and that’s what I’m going to work on most with these guys. If we want to win championships, this is the level we need to be at, and we need to do well in these tournaments.”
Even though it is only the third tournament of the year, the All American Pre-Qualifier could have a significant effect on the rest of the season. Not only do the Hoosiers get the opportunity to compete against the best players in the nation, they could also potentially earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s a real big event,” Bloemendaal said. “It is really a good opportunity to set the team up for next semester.”
Langer, who played No. 3 singles last year, is excited to represent IU in the big tournament.
“This is my first opportunity to play in the All Americans, and I can’t wait,” he said. “We’ve all really grown and matured a lot, and we really all help each other.”