The last stretch of the season is finally here for the Hoosiers, and it might be their toughest weekend of the year.
With only two matches left in the 2019 campaign, IU men's tennis – 13-9 overall and 6-3 in Big Ten play – must prepare for two of the best teams in the Big Ten, No. 34 Penn State and No. 1 Ohio State.
Penn State has jumped to as high as No. 30 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, while Ohio State, 24-2, has been at No. 1 for most of the season.
But perhaps the toughest part about these matchups is the location.
“It always gonna be tough on the road against any team in the Big Ten,” Wurtzman said. “But we’ve played such a tough schedule, and nothing is gonna surprise us.”
Wurtzman also said he prefers to play road matches outside because the open spaces don’t allow noise to carry as much as it does indoors.
It is still unknown if the matches will be played inside due to weather.
First up this weekend is a date with Penn State at 5 p.m. Friday in University Park, Pennsylvannia.
The Nittany Lions have the same conference record as the Hoosiers, but a better overall record at 16-7. Penn State had impressive wins over then-No. 16 Michigan and then-No. 35 Minnesota.
After IU battles Penn State on Friday, they’ll travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State at noon Sunday.
The Buckeyes are rolling right now as winners of eight straight matches, all of them in dominant fashion. In seven of their eight wins they have only allowed one point.
It’s no surprise that Ohio State will be IU’s toughest match of the season, which is also its last match of the season before the Big Ten championships.
“We play a national title contender on Sunday,” Wurtzman said.
That alone will serve as motivation to take down one of the best teams in the nation.