With two last conference matches on the road, the IU women’s tennis team finds itself just two weeks away from the Big Ten Tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Hoosiers, 13-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play, sit at ninth in the conference standings. IU has snuck into the conference tournament as the 10 seed the past two seasons and figures to be in a similar position at the end of the regular season.
With wins over Penn State and Ohio State this weekend, IU could move itself back over .500 in Big Ten play and into as high a spot at No. 5 in the conference standings.
Walking away with two wins this weekend won’t come so easy, however. The Nittany Lions stand one spot in front of the Hoosiers in the Big Ten standings with two games at hand, while the Buckeyes have not lost on their home courts since Feb. 1.
“We have to want it more than the other team,” IU Head Coach Ramiro Azcui said. “We’ve been short in a few matches that I thought we were favorites in, but we need to worry about ourselves the next two weeks.”
Penn State was 7-0 playing in University Park, Pennsylvania, until a 4-2 loss against Wisconsin last weekend ended its unbeaten streak at home. The Nittany Lions slid in the conference standings but can bounce back with a win over the Hoosiers in their final weekend at home in 2019.
“I think they’ll be ready for us, and it could be a dog fight,” Azcui said.
Since starting the season 3-2, the Buckeyes have been near perfect. Ohio State has gone 14-1 since falling to Duke University on Feb. 8, its one loss coming on the road against Michigan.
Ohio State, 17-3, represents one of IU’s toughest opponents all year, but Azcui thinks his team is far from intimidated.
“We love being the underdog,” Azcui said. “We played well against tough teams in the conference like Northwestern and Illinois, so I don’t expect us to do less than that.”
IU’s match with Penn State starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday before and 11 a.m. match on Sundayagainst Ohio State.