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IU women’s tennis enters extended stretch on road



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The IU women's tennis team huddles Feb. 19, 2017, before a morning match against University of Notre Dame. IU will play Nebraska on March 29. IDS file photo Buy Photos

For just the fifth time this season, the women’s tennis team will pack its bags and play on the road. With two matches away from home this weekend, one next weekend and two more April 12 and 14, the Hoosiers will be on the road for their next five matches.

“I’ve been preparing them for this since February,” IU Coach Ramiro Azcui said. “Any time you go on the road in the Big Ten it’s a tough position to be in, but we like our chances this weekend.”

Azcui said he encouraged the team to stay on top of things academically the next few weeks to avoid “added stress” in addition to physical and mental stress that come with travel.

IU will play at 5 p.m. Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska, against Nebraska before moving to play Iowa at 12 p.m. Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Hoosiers, 12-7 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play, can take advantage of two lesser conference opponents in comparison to what they’ve seen so far. The Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes are a combined 0-8 in Big Ten play entering the weekend.

Nebraska is in the middle of a six-match losing streak in which it has fallen in three 4-3 decisions. The Cornhuskers have as many losses, 12, as the Hoosiers have wins, but they are 8-6 on their home courts. Friday will be Nebraska’s first Big Ten match of the season at home.

After winning their first seven matches of the season, the Hawkeyes have crumbled to an 8-8 overall record. Since edging out Marquette University 4-3 on the road, Iowa has achieved victory in just one of its last nine matches.

The Hawkeyes, however, will play in front of a home crowd for the first time since Feb. 24. Iowa is 4-1 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex this season, and it can improve that record with matches against IU and Purdue this weekend.

For the Hoosiers, this weekend is all about maintaining that momentum they are playing with through their Big Ten slate. By picking up at least one win this weekend, IU will remain at or above .500 heading into its final five regular season matches of 2019.

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