The Indiana men’s tennis team started the spring season in dominant fashion, defeating the University of Toledo 6-1 and sweeping Bellarmine University 7-0. Of the 17 matches that were completed, Indiana lost only one.
Indiana snagged the doubles point in both contests, winning matches with five different pairings of players. The singles lineup changed throughout the day, showcasing two thrilling wins at the No. 1 position for Indiana. Senior Carson Haskins came out on top in a 6-4, 4-6, 11-9 battle against Toledo and sophomore Ilya Tiraspolsky secured a 6-2, 7-5 victory against Bellarmine.
Head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said the decision to move Indiana’s players around in the lineup came for multiple reasons.
“We’re still trying to find our doubles pairings and see different teams play together,” Wurtzman said. “Some guys had some long singles matches in the morning, too, and I wanted to make sure they didn't overdo it.”
The moves paid off for the Hoosiers, as the players’ abilities to close out tight matches were on full display. Senior Vikash Singh completed a well-fought comeback with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 win against Toledo’s Luka Jankovic. Junior Luka Vukovic grinded out a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Bellarmine junior Paul Reynolds. Senior Patrick Fletchall pulled away in the second set after avoiding a tiebreak in the first to defeat Bellarmine’s Jack Batchelor 7-5, 6-1.
Wurtzman said it’s important to learn how to handle pressure in competitive matches.
“It’s hard to simulate that in practice, so I think that today was a really good test for us,” Wurtzman said. “Our expectations were high, and I was ready for our older guys to step up and for our younger guys to surprise us.”
One of those younger players, Tiraspolsky, stood out amid the pressure. His composure and maturity have played a key part in his success throughout his young coll
egiate career, especially against higher competition. Tiraspolsky notched four victories Saturday, with each coming at the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the lineup. While his mental toughness provided an edge, his talent and execution proved key in his victories.
“I don’t miss much when I play from the ground, and it also helps that I hit big,” Tiraspolsky said. “In doubles, we always like to attack the net and close out points from there.”
Although Wurtzman said he is still working
to finalize rankings within the team, sophomore standout Tiraspolsky is all but certain to play at or near the top for the remainder of the season.
Indiana will face Auburn University Saturday in Auburn, Alabama.