IU’s schedule is not getting any easier. The Hoosiers, having played a pair of top-20 opponents last weekend, have dropped 10 straight matches.
IU will travel to Michigan to face No. 20 Michigan on Friday before facing Michigan State on Sunday.
Last season, the Hoosiers defeated Michigan 5-2 but fell 5-2 to Michigan State. Heading into this weekend, IU Coach Jeremy Wurtzman wants the team to remember their victory over Michigan.
“They are undefeated at home and are having a very good season,” Wurtzman said. “But we beat them last year and they have got to remember that. If we can get some of the same matchups and play some of the same players, then that could give us some kind of an edge because we know that we beat that team.”
Wurtzman said the Hoosiers have also shown their ability in their last two games against teams of higher caliber.
IU was close to getting the doubles point against Illinois on Friday. While they eventually lost 4-0, freshman Antonio Cembellin was leading at No. 6 singles while seniors Daniel Bednarczyk and Sam Monette had momentum going their way.
Sunday’s outing against Northwestern produced a similar outcome. The Hoosiers conceded the doubles point and lost the match 4-0, but sophomores Raheel Manji and Cembellin were in the lead in their respective matches while junior Matthew McCoy was tied in his second set after having won his first.
“Raheel had just gone up a break 4-2 against in the third against the No. 13 guy in the country,” Wurtzman said. “We are playing very good players, and we are in positions to win four matches. They had to win a three set match to beat us. That’s what we want to try to do, we don’t want them to get out there and just cruise through the match.”
Wurtzman wants the Hoosiers to maintain this level of play regardless of the opponent, and he believes that losing run could be halted this weekend.
“The level of these teams are very high, so we are the major underdog and we are keeping it close,” Wurtzman said. “So if we can play the same level against teams that aren’t in that level then I think we can come through with the win. But that’s the thing, we have got to play at the same level.”
Cembellin, who has been enjoying some good form lately having won his singles matches against Purdue and Texas Tech, said he believes that his hard work has been paying off.
“I’m playing so much better in the last four games,” Cembellin said. “Those weeks of work in the fall are coming now.”
Cembellin also said that patience is needed because it sometimes takes a while for the hard work and training to come to fruition.
“Sometimes you work really hard, but you have to wait for the results,” Cembellin said. “We are there, we are close. We are playing top 10-20 teams we played really positive against Illinois and Northwestern. Hopefully this week we will get the win.”
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