For the Hoosiers, the third road match in a month against a top-20 opponent proved almost as insurmountable as the first two.
On Sunday, No. 19 Oklahoma slugged No. 25 Indiana to the tune of 6-1, dropping the Hoosiers to 6-3 on the season.
The solitary point for the Hoosiers came in the encounter’s final match, as junior Josh MacTaggart defeated the 53rd ranked player in the country, Guillermo Alcorta, in straight sets, 7-6, 6-4, to avoid another shutout away from Bloomington.
In vanquishing Alcorta, MacTaggart registered the most notable individual victory of the season to date for the Hoosiers, who currently lack a player ranked in the ITA top 125.
Oklahoma swept the three doubles matches that commenced the action in Norman, Okla., though none of the victories came easily. The top two IU duos, the first comprised of junior Isade Juneau and senior Jeremy Langer and the second of MacTaggart and junior Alastair Barnes, both fell to ranked Sooner tandems in identical fashion, 8-6. The initial action in doubles play was then capped off by a 9-8 defeat of the Hoosiers’ No. 3 team, seniors Will Kendall and Stephen Vogl, to Lawrence Formentera and David Pultr.
Though IU had seized the doubles point in the same fixture a year ago, which was in Bloomington, the initial action proved a tougher task to the Hoosiers this time around.
The premier Oklahoma pair of Costin Paval and Dane Webb was ranked No. 14 nationally heading into the contest, while the No. 2 team of Tsvetan Mihov and Peerakit Siributwong clocked in at No. 38.
In singles play, MacTaggart’s triumph represented the only favorable result for the Hoosiers. Juneau was unable to solve the highest ranked opponent he has faced to date, No. 4 Paval, taking only two games from him en route to a 6-0, 6-2 loss. Fellow countryman Langer fared no better, dropping a 6-1, 6-3 decision to No. 9 Mihov at the No. 3 spot.
The bottom three matches of the singles slate followed a similarly sour narrative for the Hoosiers; sophomore Dimitrije Tasic, Kendall and Vogl were all defeated in straight sets at the fourth, fifth and sixth positions, respectively.
Tasic was unable to dethrone Siributwong at No. 4 singles, falling 6-3, 7-6, to the Thailand native and 39th ranked netter in the country. In his season debut at the fifth spot, Kendall dropped two contested sets to No. 63 Webb on his way to a 6-4, 6-4, setback. The other match, which pitted Vogl and Pultr against one another once more, saw Pultr prevail by a 6-4, 6-3 scoreline.
The Hoosiers now have a break of more than two weeks before they welcome No. 30 Notre Dame to the IU Tennis Center for a leap day grudge match of Jan. 28’s 6-1 victory.
IU Coach Randy Bloemendaal has consistently said this year’s Hoosier squad is ahead of schedule compared to this past year’s. Despite the team having been convincingly beaten in three road matches so far this season, each of those three defeats have come on the road to more highly ranked outfits — No. 3 Ohio State, No. 7 Kentucky and the No. 19 Sooners.
The schedule appears more manageable in the coming month, as the Irish represent the only opponent ranked in the top 50.