Indiana Daily Student

Three things to know before IU women’s tennis plays weekend doubleheader

<p>Freshman Lexi Kubas prepares to hit the ball Sept. 29, 2019, at the IU Tennis Center. IU will play the University of Cincinnati and Ball State University on Sunday in Bloomington.</p>

Freshman Lexi Kubas prepares to hit the ball Sept. 29, 2019, at the IU Tennis Center. IU will play the University of Cincinnati and Ball State University on Sunday in Bloomington.

After splitting its last pair of matches, the IU women’s tennis team has two more matches on deck this weekend to end its nonconference schedule. 

IU takes on the University of Cincinnati at 11 a.m. Sunday and Ball State University at 5 p.m. Sunday in Bloomington. Before the Hoosiers play the Bearcats and Cardinals, here are three things to know:

Evenly matched opponents

IU head coach Ramiro Azcui said Cincinnati is rated similarly to IU, making the Bearcats a tough morning matchup for the Hoosiers.

Cincinnati enters at 6-3, the same number of wins as IU and one fewer loss. Before playing in Bloomington on Sunday, Cincinnati plays the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday, a team that beat IU 4-0 on Feb. 9.

Ball State is another team the Hoosiers can’t lose focus on, Azcui said. The Cardinals are off to a good start at 6-1 and will have more rest going into Sunday’s match, considering IU will be on the back end of a doubleheader.

Added motivation

IU beat Cornell University 4-1 Saturday. However, Azcui said the match was a lot closer than the results showed because the Hoosiers had to adjust to playing on a slower court surface than normal. 

IU then dropped a close match to Yale University on Sunday on a much faster court surface. Still, it was one the team felt it could’ve won.

“The team was not happy at the end of the match,” Azcui said. “We felt we could’ve done a little better. It’s motivation.” 

Last weekend, the Hoosiers were strong on the lower courts but struggled at the top ones.

“Everyone has their No. 1 and No. 2 as very strong players,” Azcui said. “Those matches are kind of 50-50. It shows a lot about how deep we are. A lot of those kids could end up playing at the top.”

Conference play on the horizon

Sunday’s doubleheader marks IU’s last two nonconference games. The following weekend, it opens Big Ten play against Northwestern on Feb. 28 and Penn State on March 1.

Before conference play begins, Azcui said he wants to touch up on some areas of his team’s play.

“The emphasis this week is going to be trying to get a better start with the doubles,” he said.

The Hoosiers went 2-2 last weekend in doubles matches, winning the doubles point on Saturday but losing it on Sunday. After trying out numerous combinations to start the year, IU has settled into some consistent pairings.

Graduate transfer Annabelle Andrinopoulos and junior Jelly Bozovic have been put together often, as have senior Caitlin Bernard and freshman Alexandra Staiculescu.

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