Two team wins highlighted a three-match stint at home for the women’s tennis team, but a 4-3 loss to University of Notre Dame left a blemish on this weekend.
IU came out strong Saturday morning with a 4-1 finish over James Madison University. The Hoosiers took two of three doubles matches to pick up a point before the Dukes dropped three quick singles matches to concede the win.
Sunday morning’s test against Notre Dame was the marquee match of the weekend. The Hoosiers have not defeated the Fighting Irish since 2015, but they came close on the road last season. IU had a team match point going for them, but they ultimately lost to Notre Dame.
With this rematch having been on their minds for a while, each IU player came out fiery to start with doubles.
The Hoosiers clinched the doubles point with No. 1 and 2 doubles bringing home 6-2 decisions. No. 3 doubles was up 5-4 on the Fighting Irish when the other two matches ended.
Sophomore Michelle McKamey won in straight sets at No. 5 singles to give IU a 2-0 lead before things took a turn for the worst.
Senior Madison Appel and freshman Somer Henry lost in straight sets, bringing things to a 2-2 tie. Junior Caitlin Bernard fell 12-10 in a back-and-forth third set tiebreak, and sophomore Jelly Bozovic fell in three sets after taking the first, 6-1.
Notre Dame earned its fourth consecutive team win over IU.
“Everybody’s a little down and upset about it because we had a good opportunity to beat Notre Dame again,” IU Head Coach Ramiro Azcui said. “I was very pleased with the effort and the energy the team brought, but we couldn’t sustain that until the very end and it just cost us.”
In what could have been the singles match that determined a deadlocked IU and Notre Dame, senior Natalie Whalen fought back to take the second set and win a third set tiebreak to claim a No. 2 singles win.
Later in the day, Whalen and Bernard combined for a 6-0 sweep of Saint Louis University as IU clinched the doubles point in its final match of the weekend. Instead of going from No. 2 doubles to No. 2 singles, Whalen watched the singles half of play from the sideline with a bag of ice taped to her shoulder.
With that came an open spot in the lineup which junior Anna McCoy filled. The Bloomington native dropped the opening set 7-6 at No. 6 singles, and her match came to an end one game into the second set because IU had already clinched the 4-0 team win over Saint Louis.
"The reason we schedule like this, three matches this weekend, is because we thought we were gonna have a few more players on the team, and I wanted to give everyone the chance to play," Azcui said. "Anna’s been stepping up every time we ask her to come in. It’s a tough role to be on the bench, but she’s doing a great job."
Next weekend IU will play away from home for the first time all season with a pair of SEC opponents up next in nonconference play.
“Those are both big matches for us,” Henry said about her first ever weekend on the road. “I think that’ll be fun trying to get the win on the road in two new environments.”
IU takes on the University of Tennessee at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 15 and University of Kentucky at 11:00 a.m. Feb. 17.
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