IU men’s tennis returned to the IU Tennis Center for its final home matches of the season. On Saturday, the team beat Penn State 4-1, and it lost to No. 23 Ohio State 6-1 Sunday.
The Hoosiers, looking to avenge a 4-3 loss to the Nittany Lions from earlier in the season, kicked off Saturday’s match by securing the doubles point. Graduate student Bennett Crane and sophomore Luka Vukovic won 6-1 at the No. 2 spot, while freshman Ilya Tiraspolsky and graduate student William Piekarsky won 7-5 at No. 3.
“It was a great college match against Penn State,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “We were really looking forward to getting the opportunity to play them again.”
Crane put IU up 2-0 with an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles. Tiraspolsky and junior Vikash Singh won their No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches in two sets, going 6-2, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-4.
Junior Carson Haskins fell 6-2, 6-1 in No. 3 singles. The No. 2 and No. 4 matches with senior Andrew Redding and Vukovic were left unfinished.
“We were in control of all three matches and got the doubles point, and then we had great starts in the singles matches,” Wurtzman said. “When you win the doubles point and your number one player steps up like Bennett did in avenging a match he lost earlier in the season, it really sends a good message.”
On Sunday, IU got another look at Ohio State. The Buckeyes jumped on the board by capturing the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Both pairs of Redding and junior Patrick Fletchall and Crane and Vukovic lost 6-3.
The Hoosiers’ lone point on the board came from Crane, who beat No. 35 John McNally. After winning the first set 7-6 (6-4), Crane won the second set 6-1 to secure a ranked win.
“John McNally is one of the best players in the country, always has been,” Wurtzman said. “Bennett has played him twice before and hadn’t ever won a set against him. For him to win the way he did today was incredible.”
At No. 2 singles, Redding fell to No. 46 Cannon Kingsley 6-1, 6-2. Vukovic, Fletchall and Singh also lost at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 singles.
Tiraspolsky lost his first set 4-6 at No. 5 singles but came back to win the second set 6-4. He forced a 10-point tiebreaker, falling 1-0 (10-4).
“I thought we competed really well in doubles and in a lot of the matches against Ohio State,” Wurtzman said. “We held our own in some of the spots, but it showed us some of the things we have to continue to work on, and also that mentally we need to be a bit better against these teams.”
IU will play its final regular-season match on April 17. The team will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, to face the Purdue Boilermakers at the Schwartz Tennis Center.
The two teams last saw each other on March 13, with IU claiming a 4-0 victory. The Hoosiers look to continue a five-match win streak against the Boilermakers.
“Purdue is going to be a tough challenge on the road, and we can’t expect it to be as smooth of a match as the first time around,” Wurtzman said. “We’ll definitely have to have a good week of practice and get our minds right for that match because we don’t want to overlook them.”