Love was in the air over the weekend – along with 15, 30, 40 and deuce – when IU women’s tennis opened its fall season with the Hoosier Classic.
The three-day tournament ran Friday through Sunday at the IU Varsity Tennis Courts. It saw singles and doubles action from the Hoosiers and eight other schools including Xavier University, University of Louisville and Middle Tennessee State University.
IU head coach Ramiro Azcui debuted a team with five new faces, including four freshmen and senior Annabelle Andrinopoulos, a graduate transfer from the University of Colorado.
“This tournament gives us the opportunity to see where we are, to kind of give the players a better feel,” Azcui said. “Five of the eight players are new, so it just gives us the opportunity to get a feel for where this freshman class and the senior transfer are going to fit in.”
The Hoosiers ended the weekend 10-12 in singles and 7-7 in doubles competition. The freshmen and Andrinopoulos provided six of those singles wins, and the group had at least one member on all six doubles squads.
Leading the way for the freshman class was Lexi Kubas, going 2-1 in singles and 3-0 in doubles alongside partner junior Michelle McKamey.
“We've never played with each other before, but it was awesome,” Kubas said. “It was so much fun, the teams were all really competitive. There was no easy matches. So it was really awesome getting to play different kinds of people, getting to play at the collegiate level.”
And playing at the collegiate level allows Kubas to do something she said she has always loved and didn’t get to do while competing in under-18 tournaments: be part of a team.
“Usually in junior tournaments you're just by yourself,” Kubas said. “You're not with anyone. You're not cheering anyone besides some of your friends. But everyone's cheering for you, and it's just so encouraging.”
Returning to the team are redshirt senior Caitlin Bernard and juniors Jelly Bozovic and McKamey.
Bernard went 2-1 in singles action and 2-2 in doubles while partnering with both Andrinopoulos and McKamey. Last season,Bernard was 11-20 in singles and 28-8 as a doubles competitor.
“I feel like I have a lot of experience to bring, especially being the oldest one,” Bernard said. “I feel like just my actions off the court and on the court can help everyone.”
Azcui said the Hoosiers head into the fall season looking to improve and prepare for the spring.
“My emphasis in practice has always been try to get better 1% every day,” Azcui said. “And in this tournament I wanted to do that. I wanted to try to get better 1% every match, and I feel like some of the players have definitely done that.”
The next time the Hoosiers take the court will be when Bernard and Andrinopoulos compete in doubles at the Oct. 5-13 Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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