The Indiana men’s tennis team traveled to Michigan for its first away matches of Big Ten play, facing Michigan State on Friday and No. 6 Michigan on Sunday.
Though both resulted in losses for the Hoosiers, the matches and competition were different. Friday’s match against the Spartans was a back-and-forth affair that came down to the wire, but the Wolverines came out on top over the Hoosiers in dominant fashion on Sunday.
Indiana got off to a strong start Friday, winning the doubles point after sophomore Michael Andre and junior Luka Vukovic won a thrilling 7-6(6-2) match at No. 3 doubles. However, for the second match in a row, the Hoosiers’ opponent overcame their early deficit during singles play.
Michigan State sophomore Graydon Lair defeated Indiana senior Vikash Singh in the No. 5 singles match 6-2, 6-2. Andre then defeated Michigan State junior Nick Williams 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 6 spot.
Indiana extended its match lead to 3-1 after a 6-3, 7-6(6-4) win by senior Patrick Fletchall over Michigan State freshman Max Sheldon. The Hoosiers needed only one more victory to take the match, but dropped the remaining three singles contests.
Michigan State senior Carson Gates defeated Indiana sophomore Ilya Tiraspolsky 6-0, 0-6, 6-4. The Spartans then evened the match at 3-3 thanks to a win by sophomore Luke Baylis over Indiana junior Luka Vukovic.
The deciding point fell in the hands of the No. 1 singles competitors. Despite a strong comeback effort by Indiana senior Carson Haskins, who was recovering from an ankle injury that occured during his singles match on April 2, Michigan State senior Jack Winkler took the final match by a score of 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, to seal the Spartans’ victory.
Sunday’s match was much less of an even outing, as the Hoosiers faced their second top-10 opponent in less than two weeks in the Wolverines.
Michigan has four total players ranked in the doubles section of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s top 90. The pairing of sophomore Nino Ehrenschneider and graduate student Jack Beaty are ranked No. 12 and junior Ondrej Styler and sophomore Gavin Young check in at No. 34.
Ehrenschneider paired up with Styler to take down Indiana’s No. 1 doubles team of Haskins and Singh 6-3. Beaty and senior teammate Patrick Maloney then also defeated Fletchall and Tiraspolsky at the No. 2 spot by a score of 6-3.
The Wolverines were nearly flawless the rest of the match, winning five of the remaining six singles matches and securing the overall match win 6-1. The Hoosiers’ sole victory came from sophomore Jagger Saylor at the No. 6 spot by a score of 6-4, 6-4 against Michigan freshman Alexander Zederbauer.
The Hoosiers have now lost eight matches in a row, their last win on March 4 against Illinois State University. Out of the team’s final four opponents before postseason play, three cracked the ITA’s top-65 rankings. Northwestern is ranked No. 26, while Illinois is No. 53 and Wisconsin is No. 62.
Indiana will compete at home next weekend against Wisconsin and Nebraska and celebrate senior day Sunday.