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The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

IU men's tennis road journey moves to California

IU Men's Tennis 1/13/19

With below-freezing temperatures and snow, January in the Midwest isn’t something that entices many people.

But for a few days, the IU men’s tennis team can get away from it all as it goes on the road to face No. 7 University of California, Los Angeles on Friday. 

Traveling to Los Angeles is something that many Hoosiers wish they could do this time of year, but for IU this more than a vacation. It’s a business trip. 

“Historically, they are possibly the best program in the entire country,” IU Head Coach Jeremy Wurtzman said about UCLA. “It’s great to have them on our schedule.”

"The best program in the entire country" moniker carries some weight because the Bruins have a total of 16 national championships, with their most recent coming in 2005.

The ability to take on a top-10 program doesn’t come around often, and IU wants to be ready for its biggest nonconference test of the season. 

One thing working in IU’s favor this weekend will be its experience this season. UCLA hasn't played a team match since May 21, whereas this will be IU’s third match in the past week. 

“This is their first match of the year so the momentum will definitely be in our favor,” junior Zac Brodney said. “We have to jump on them early.”

The five-star recruit is originally from Los Angeles and grew up playing with many of the players on UCLA's team, specifically sophomore Connor Hance. 

They both grew up playing together in southern California, but for the first time ever, Brodney and Hance will square off against each other in college. 

“We’ve been talking trash back and forth for a while now,” Brodney said jokingly.  

Brodney didn’t only grow up playing against most of the UCLA players, but he also grew up playing on the same courts where IU and UCLA will compete Friday night. 

His familiarity with many of the opponents and experience on the courts will make Brodney a player to watch during IU's time in Los Angeles. 

After ditching the sun to move out to Bloomington, Brodney said he always keeps track of the weather out west. 

“I have the L.A. weather app on my phone at all times,” Brodney said. “When it’s -1 degrees here, I always look out there. It’s kind of like a little tease.”

While the beautiful weather is a plus, IU simply wants to come home with a victory, something they haven’t done on the road since last April. 

Regardless of the outcome, IU will stay in Los Angeles to take on the University of San Diego or the University of Mississippi on Saturday.

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