In a two-match weekend, IU men’s tennis remained undefeated at home while picking up its first win against a ranked opponent this year.
A 7-0 win against Drake University on Friday was followed up by a 5-2 victory over No. 25 Dartmouth College on Saturday. The Hoosiers lost to both schools the previous two seasons.
Now 8-3, IU has won its last five matches. The Hoosiers came in at No. 49 in the country this week on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s rankings, their first appearance on the rankings this season.
IU faced three ranked opponents earlier in the season, losses to No. 4 University of Texas at Austin, No. 31 Middle Tennessee State University and No. 39 Vanderbilt University.
“I'm a big, big believer in confidence,” Wurtzman said. “And I think just winning a few matches in a row like we did, even though it was some tight matches and some tight 4-3s, I think it gave us more confidence.”
The weekend started smoothly for the Hoosiers against a struggling Bulldogs squad. Drake came to Bloomington 3-12, but Wurtzman said Drake’s poor record wasn’t his focus. Rather, Wurtzman said he focused on the strong opponents the Bulldogs have faced.
“You can kind of think that the more matches they get under their belt, either win or lose, the more experience they get, and then that can turn into some wins,” Wurtzman said.
Junior Andrew Redding clinched the match for IU at 4-0 while all seven points were played out. He defeated Matija Matic in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). Redding trailed 5-1 in the tiebreak but fired off six straight points to finish the match.
“I just really wanted to get it done in two sets, and I just really focused and got really serious about it, didn't want to give him any free chances,” Redding said. “So I just stayed focused and played point by point and was able to bring it back at the end there.”
IU has gotten off to quick starts during its five-match win streak. The match against Dartmouth marked the sixth competition in a row IU has won the doubles point, but it had to work a little harder for it Saturday. Two matches went 7-5 in the Hoosiers' favor after dropping the first doubles match 6-3.
“Today was a good example of it getting a little bit closer,” Wurtzman said. “And I think that it is really good that it got close, but we're still able to pull out the match.”
Freshman Luka Vukovic sealed the win for IU. This is the first match Vukovic has had the chance to finish off for the Hoosiers.
“That was a good feeling,” Vukovic said. “It was nice to kind of get the win for the team."