By Lionel Lim
IU lost 6-1 to No. 18 Kentucky on Friday night at the Boone Tennis Complex. With the loss, the Hoosiers are now on a four match losing streak.
The Wildcats got the doubles point when the pairs of William Bushamuka and Nils Ellefsen and Enzo Wallart and Ryotaro Matsumura defeated IU’s pair of seniors Samuel Monette and Daniel Bednarczyk 6-3 at No. 1 doubles and senior Chris Essick and junior Stefan Lugonjic 6-3 at No. 2 doubles.
Freshman Antonio Cembellin earned the Hoosiers their sole point of the night when he beat Charles Minc 7-5, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
“It was great,” IU Coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “He was able to get out there and able to win the first and cruise along the second set. It was a good step for Toni, and it just shows how far he has improved to be able to get a win at a top 20 school.”
Then-No. 37 Monette went up against No. 31 William Bushamuka in No. 1 singles, and Monette won the first set 6-2. Bushamuka rebounded and beat Monette 6-2, 6-4 to win the match.
IU’s other Canadians, Bednarczyk and sophomore Raheel Manji also gave their Wildcat opponents a competitive match.
Bednarczyk lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to Ellefsen at No. 3 singles while Manji lost to No. 90 Matsumura 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) at No. 2 singles.
“It was as close as it could really get,” Wurtzman said. “There was a time where we were fighting really hard and the match could have gone either way because we were in control on three of the four courts. You just can’t have too many ups and downs.”
Despite the loss, some of IU’s players said they believe they managed to walk away with something from the game.
“We came together as a team more even though we lost,” Essick said. “There was a battle going on at every court and the matches were really close, and Kentucky is not an easy place to play at.”
What stood out for Essick was Kentucky’s ability to capitalize whenever IU made mistakes.
“Going for the wrong shots or a mental lapse once in awhile, that’s bound to happen during games,” Essick said. “Top 20 teams can really capitalize on that but I think this is by far one of the better matches when compared to the last three.”
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