The IU women’s tennis team is at one of its more pivotal points of the season.
At 6-4 overall, the Hoosiers have four home matches over the next two weekends before Big Ten play begins in March. Last weekend’s road losses to University of Tennessee and University of Kentucky loom large, but the team should look ahead instead of behind.
“I don’t think dwelling on a couple of losses is that important,” senior Madison Appel said. “I lost, and I’m just trying to move forward, and I’m going to relay that message to the team.”
IU’s home stint at the IU Tennis Center starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday with a match against Princeton University and continues at 11 a.m. on Sunday when the team plays DePaul University.
Princeton is 6-3, but its record is better than it indicates. Two of the Tigers’ first four opponents were top-three teams and they only have one other loss. Five of Princeton’s six wins have come on the road.
“Last year when we went to Princeton we didn’t play well on their fast courts,” IU Head Coach Ramiro Azcui said about IU’s 2018 loss at Princeton. “We look forward to having them here on our surface.”
DePaul, meanwhile, sits at 3-6 amid its loaded nonconference schedule. IU will be the fifth Big Ten team DePaul faces this season, and it will face its sixth next weekend in Michigan State.
The Hoosiers and Blue Demons have had a few opponents in common thus far. IU and DePaul both swept Butler University 7-0 earlier this season, but the narrative was different when they each faced Western Michigan University. The Hoosiers got the best of the Broncos, but the Blue Demons lost 6-1.
“DePaul can be a very dangerous team because a team with a losing record can easily come out and swing for the fences,” Azcui said. “It’s gonna be about how well prepared we are this week.”
These next two weekends present an opportunity for IU to bolster its record before an always-grueling Big Ten schedule, but all the team can ask for right now is some momentum heading into that stretch.
“We’ve got to get some momentum going into those Big Ten matches,” Azcui said. “Our doubles has to set the tone and be strong if we want a good chance at each match. That’s our strength, so if we can’t come out and dictate there, we’re just an average team.”
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