IU men’s tennis spent another weekend on the road, this time visiting No. 24 Michigan and Michigan State in Ann Arbor and East Lansing. The Hoosiers lost to the Wolverines but bounced back and won against Michigan State.
On Saturday, IU fell to Michigan 4-0. The match, held at the Varsity Tennis Center, was moved indoors because of cold temperatures.
“Indoors at Michigan is one of the toughest places to play, more so because they’re comfortable in their building and more confident in there,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “They played well and were a little too much for us up and down the lineup. We just couldn’t get anything going.”
Although graduate student Bennett Crane and sophomore Luka Vukovic picked up a 6-2 victory at No. 2 doubles, Michigan came back to win the No. 1 and No. 3 matches. Senior Andrew Redding and junior Patrick Fletchall fell 6-3, while freshman Ilya Tiraspolsky and graduate student William Piekarsky lost 6-1.
Michigan secured the match with three two-set victories in singles. Redding lost 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, while Fletchall fell 6-3, 7-5 at the No. 6 spot. The match was sealed when junior Carson Haskins was defeated in No. 3 singles 6-4, 6-4.
The No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5 singles matches with Crane, Vukovic and Tiraspolsky were left unfinished.
On Sunday, IU traveled to take on Michigan State at the MSU Tennis Center. The Hoosiers defeated the Spartans 6-1.
“I thought we really set the tone of the match in doubles. We got the doubles point and went from there,” Wurtzman said. “It was a smooth day but against a tough Michigan State team. They don’t give you anything; we had to earn everything.”
IU quickly picked up the doubles point as Crane and Vukovic won 6-2 at No. 2 doubles, and Tiraspolsky and Piekarsky won 6-4 at the No. 3 spot. The No. 1 doubles match with Redding and Fletchall was left unfinished as the Hoosiers clinched the point.
Four Hoosiers picked up singles victories within two sets. Redding, Haskins, Vukovic and Tiraspolsky claimed victory at the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 spots. Crane also won at No. 1 singles with a 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-4) win. The lone loss for the team came at No. 6 singles, where Piekarsky fell after a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) battle.
The Hoosiers return home to the IU Tennis Center next weekend for two more Big Ten matches. The team will play Penn State on April 10 and No. 19 Ohio State on April 11. Both matches are set to begin at noon.
IU last saw Penn State on March 6, falling 4-3 in a match that came down to the last court. The Hoosiers look to end a two-match losing streak against the Nittany Lions.
“Penn State was one of our most heartbreaking matches this season,” Wurtzman said. “It was a very emotional, heated match and it didn’t go our way. It’s definitely something we haven’t forgotten about, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to play them again.”
Following the Nittany Lions, the Hoosiers will get a second look at the Buckeyes. The two programs last squared off on March 7, with IU getting swept 7-0. Ohio State maintains a 20-match win streak over IU.
“I think with Ohio State, we just go out and swing away. Be as aggressive as we can be and try to put them in some vulnerable positions,” Wurtzman said. “The focus right now is Penn State, and then quickly after that we’ll go out and give everything we’ve got against the Buckeyes.”