Indiana Daily Student

IU men’s tennis back home to face Penn State, Ohio State

<p>IU graduate student Bennett Crane swings his racket in a game against Michigan on April 3. The Hoosiers will play against the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday.</p>

IU graduate student Bennett Crane swings his racket in a game against Michigan on April 3. The Hoosiers will play against the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday.

IU men’s tennis returns to the IU Tennis Center for two home matches this weekend. The team will play Penn State on Saturday and No. 23 Ohio State on Sunday. Both matches are set to begin at noon.

The last time the Hoosiers saw the Nittany Lions was in a 4-3 loss March 6. Despite clinching the doubles point early on, the team dropped four of its singles matches to give Penn State the win. The match was decided by No. 6 singles, where freshman Michael Andre lost in two sets.

In the match, IU had wins from graduate student Bennett Crane and Andre at the No. 1 doubles spot and freshman Ilya Tiraspolsky and graduate student William Piekarsky at the No. 3 spot. Senior Andrew Redding and sophomore Luka Vukovic won their matches at No. 2 and No. 5 singles.

“The match against Penn State was such a battle the first time,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “We were so close to winning that match and it just didn’t go our way. We talked right after the match about how important it was to remember that feeling so when we play them again. We’re ready to really compete at a high level and have another shot at Penn State.”

IU looks to end a two-match losing streak this weekend against Penn State. The Hoosiers lead the series with an overall record of 21-10.

On Sunday, IU will get another look at No. 23 Ohio State. The two programs last saw each other on March 7, with the Buckeyes sweeping the Hoosiers 7-0. 

The match will also be IU’s senior day. The Hoosiers will honor Crane, Piekarsky, and Redding.

“I think it’ll be great to honor our seniors and play one of the best teams in the country,” Wurtzman said. “Every year Ohio State is competing for a national title, so it’s nice to get them where we’re most comfortable on our courts and kind of have a memorable day with three seniors that we get to celebrate as well.”

IU looks to put a stop to a 20-match losing streak against Ohio State. The teams are tied in the all-time series with an overall record of 42-42.

IU’s regular season will conclude with a trip to in-state rival Purdue on April 17. The team won its last matchup with the Boilermakers, executing a 4-0 sweep March 13. 

The Hoosiers will then play in the Big Ten tournament, which will be played from April 29-May 2 and hosted by Nebraska. 

Due to the pandemic, the 2020-2021 season was more compressed than usual. The Big Ten conference decided on a schedule with 16 dual matches, cutting the season by a few weeks. 

“I don’t think it’s really processed that it’s getting towards the end of the season,” Wurtzman said. “I think that’s good in some ways, as it’s continued to motivate us and helped us believe we can still do what we want as a team.”

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