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IU women's tennis edges out Nebraska, falls at Iowa



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Then-freshman Jelly Bozovic, now a sophomore, celebrates winning a point during her match against Marquette University in the 2018 season. IU played Iowa on Sunday and lost, 3-4. Sam House Buy Photos

The Hoosiers began their current five-match road trip with a weekend that told two different stories.

IU trailed early in a 5-2 win over Nebraska on Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska, before taking the first lead in a 4-3 loss at Iowa on Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa.

Nebraska entered Friday’s match against IU with an 8-12 record. The Cornhuskers were on a six-game losing streak and without any wins against conference opponents this season.

Having lost its previous match at Penn State in 4-3 fashion, Nebraska was aiming to get its first Big Ten win on its home courts. The Cornhuskers have won all of their matches at the Dillon Tennis Center so far this season.

Nebraska looked strong from the start, finishing off IU’s No. 2 and 3 doubles to clinch the opening point with 7-5 and 6-2 wins, respectively.

With the Hoosiers down one point early, they remained calm and shifted their focus toward singles play. In IU’s Big Ten opener against then-No. 31 Illinois, Azcui’s squad dropped the doubles point only to rally for a 4-3 win.

Playing from behind in the same position Friday, IU pieced together another comeback win over a conference opponent. Sophomore Jelly Bozovic jump-started the effort by tying things up with a straight sets win at No. 4 singles.

After dropping her first set, senior Madison Appel cruised in the second and third sets to give IU its first lead of the day. Freshman Somer Henry lost at No. 6 singles by a score of 7-5, 7-5, and Nebraska had the match tied at 2-2.

Junior Caitlin Bernard and sophomore Michelle McKamey gave IU its third and fourth points with third set wins, and senior Natalie Whalen’s opponent retired in her third set. The 5-2 win pushed IU to 13-7 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play.

The Hoosiers could not recapture that same come-from-behind magic when they trailed Sunday at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.

After splitting No. 2 and 3 doubles with Iowa, Appel and Bozovic pulled off a multi-game comeback at No. 1 doubles to win the first point for IU. This time, with the first lead of the match in their favor, the Hoosiers could not capitalize on their chance to win the match.

Bozovic took No. 4 singles 7-5, 6-4 and Whalen battled to a third-set win at No. 2 singles, but the Hoosiers failed to defeat the Hawkeyes elsewhere.

At No. 1 and 3 singles, Appel and Bernard never found a rhythm in their respective 6-2, 6-1 losses. Henry also lost in straight sets at No. 6 singles.

The team match came down to the No. 5 singles court, where McKamey easily took the first set 6-0 before falling in the second 7-5. She stuck around with Iowa freshman Michelle Bacalla in the third set, but McKamey could not win the match for IU.

The Hoosiers are back to .500 in Big Ten at 3-3. IU's next match is against Purdue at 12 p.m. April 6 in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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