IU men’s tennis found a counter for the luck of the Irish with a different type of sophomore jinx.
Three singles wins from sophomores, including Carson Haskins in the 3-3 deciding match, led the Hoosiers to a 4-3 win against the University of Notre Dame on Saturday.
Things looked bad early on for the Hoosiers. IU fell behind early in two of the three doubles matches despite not facing the top doubles pair from Notre Dame, No. 15 Richard Ciamarra and McCormick.
“That was awesome that the younger guys stepped up,” IU head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “I've worked hard with that group to understand what they're trying to build here at IU, and what a great win for our team and for Carson.”
Haskins, now 4-1 on the season in singles competition, defeated Tristan McCormick in a three-set thriller after dropping the first set.
“I just saw toughness," Wurtzman said. "I saw grit. I saw good tennis. It's just the mix of really being composed in the big moments. Finding ways to win, at the same time playing some really, really smart, strategic tennis in some big moments and not just hitting balls out there.”
Haskins said this is the first time he has been in the 3-3 deciding match with all eyes on him.
“It's an awesome feeling, you know, just to have the support of my teammates and having everyone there cheer me on,” Haskins said. “I'm really thankful to be a part of a team like this because, you know, I would do anything for these guys.”
The win moves IU back over .500 at 3-2, and snaps a two-match losing streak following the team's road trip to Texas last weekend.
The scene at the end of the match was much like the last time IU was at home against the University of Memphis two weeks ago. Then, it was Bennett Crane who finished off the 4-3 win. Both Haskins and Crane were mobbed and tackled by their teammates as they piled on after putting the match away.
“I was like, ‘maybe you should run away a little bit,’ you know?” Haskins said. “My body is already pretty sore right now. It was an awesome experience, and this is something I'm going to remember.”
Fellow sophomores Patrick Fletchall and Vikash Singh also added singles wins for IU, while freshman Luka Vukovic earned his first collegiate victory, defeating Connor Fu 7-5, 6-4.
Wurtzman knows that first collegiate win can be difficult.
“It's always that first one, and then sometimes big things start to happen,” Wurtzman said. “And also against such a strong team. That was huge.”
IU’s top pairing, Crane and Zac Brodney trailed 4-0, while William Piekarsky and Haskins found themselves in a 4-1 hole to start. Both pairs came back, but neither could get the win. Crane and Brodney lost 6-3, while Piekarsky and Haskins went down 6-4.
The Hoosiers’ other pair, Peymon Ahmadi and Fletchall were leading 5-3 when doubles matches ended.
The victory bolsters the Hoosiers’ resume as Notre Dame stands just outside of the top-25.
“We haven't had wins like this in our program," Wurtzman said. "Since I've been here, it's been far and few. We beat a lot of teams in our range, maybe slightly behind us. But to get wins that are ahead of us like this — I think is huge, especially this early in the season.”
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