With just over five matches left on the schedule for the IU men's tennis, this weekend poses must-win matches if it wants a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.
IU is coming off another weekend where it split its dual meets. These results aren’t doing the team any favors. IU continues to win one match and lose the other every weekend.
Last weekend was no different. IU beat a lowly Michigan State team on Saturday and proceeded to falter against a strong Michigan team on Sunday.
IU will try to put that performance behind them this weekend as they travel to play Wisconsin and No. 36 Minnesota. IU Head Coach Jeremy Wurtzman is looking forward to the challenge.
“We beat Minnesota once last year and lost to them once,” Wurtzman said. “Every match we play against them is always very competitive, so we look forward to that ranked opportunity.”
Much like he said of the Michigan State match before playing Michigan, Wurtzman wants his team to focus on the situation with Wisconsin, IU's first weekend opponent, before looking forward to Minnesota.
The Badgers currently sit at 7-8 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten, which includes their current five-match losing streak. Two of those five losses have come against ranked opponents, such as No. 36 Minnesota, No. 30 Penn State and No. 1 Ohio State.
“That’s gonna be a very tough match, they’re a really good team,” Wurtzman said. “They’re very competitive every year.”
After the Wisconsin match Friday night, IU will make the trip from Madison, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis before squaring off with Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota, which has started the year 12-5, only sits at 1-4 in the conference.
Much like the Badgers, the Gophers are also currently on a four-match losing streak that spans two weeks. Junior Zac Brodney said hehopes to extend that losing streak for the Gophers.
“They’re definitely a team we have a good rivalry with,” Brodney said. “We know they’re gonna bring it every time, and it’ll be a good match.”