Five members from the Indiana men’s tennis team competed in the Drobac/Beeman Invite in East Lansing, Michigan, over the weekend. Indiana’s most successful performance came from the team of sophomores Michael Andre and Ilya Tiraspolsky, who finished as runners-up of the invite.
In the first round, Andre sealed the team’s victory with a win in singles. In the second round, Tiraspolsky bounced back from a day one loss and won his individual match to help the team advance. The duo did not lose a doubles match until the finals.
The tournament was team-style, where two players from the same school would face off against a different school’s pairing in a doubles match and two singles matches. The team that won two out of three matches would advance in the draw.
The Drobac/Beeman Invite consisted of four Big Ten teams: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Northwestern. The competition gave the Hoosiers a glimpse of how they will fare against conference opponents during the regular season.
Assistant coach Mike Murray was excited about what he saw from the sophomores.
“They put on display what they’re capable of in doubles, and I was happy to see each of them take turns at winning singles matches to help them advance,” Murray said. “It was a good showing by two guys that we’re expecting big things from the next couple years.”
For Tiraspolsky, who Murray said is a solid player under pressure, the successful outing was nothing unusual. For Andre, however, the weekend served as a bigger test.
Andre spent the beginning of last season playing No. 1 doubles with former teammate Bennett Crane, but sustained a serious injury against Ohio State in early March. He was unable to play the rest of the season and missed out on 13 matches. The weekend was Andre’s return into a high level of doubles play.
“To have him come back and to pair him with Ilya, who we know is a very capable doubles player, and to see them have success together was exciting,” Murray said. “Michael’s ready to compete again.”
Murray is confident in the team’s ability to go head-to-head against other players in the Big Ten.
“Just from seeing how Michael and Ilya are playing doubles right now, I think that they’re as good as any doubles team you can throw at them,” Murray said.
Although the weekend was highlighted by the performance of Andre and Tiraspolsky, it was an important experience for everyone else who made the trip to East Lansing.
“I missed out on a lot of opportunities to get to know the guys, because most of the guys I traveled with this weekend were freshmen last year,” Murray said. “I really felt like it was a great bonding opportunity to be around each other and get to know each other in a smaller setting. As a coach, I got to know each of their games a little bit better.”
The Hoosiers will travel to Clemson, South Carolina, next weekend for the Clemson Invite.