Having faced a slew of tough competition during national tournaments in the fall, the Indiana men’s tennis team headed into the spring season hopeful to use its experiences to improve. The Hoosiers started the season strong but were unable to come out on top during many close matches against ranked and conference opponents.
The team started its nonconference schedule in late January, hosting the University of Toledo and Bellarmine University on the first weekend. The Hoosiers dominated both matches, winning the first 6-1 and the second 7-0. However, the competition only grew harder throughout the season.
Indiana opened up the second weekend of play with a 4-3 win against Yale University. The Hoosiers recorded their first loss in a sweep against Princeton University the next day and would go on to win only three more team matches the remainder of the season.
The Hoosiers ended a four-match losing streak with a 4-0 win against Xavier University in late February. Two weeks later, they notched their fifth win of the season, sweeping Illinois State University 4-0.
From that point on, Indiana faced more ranked than unranked opponents, including No. 25 Auburn University, No. 41 Vanderbilt University, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan. In their final 12 regular season matches, the Hoosiers went 0-12.
Indiana competed toe-to-toe with its opponents in almost every single match; the doubles point often came down to the third and final match, and many tiebreakers did not go in favor of the Hoosiers.
One of the closest matches of the season came against Penn State on April 3. The Hoosiers and Nittany Lions had been trading wins all afternoon, and the deciding point fell into the hands of Indiana sophomore Ilya Tiraspolsky at the No. 4 singles match. Tiraspolsky dropped the match 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7) despite the home crowd and his teammates loudly cheering him on. The Hoosiers’ disappointment was obvious.
Penn State was Indiana’s first-round opponent in the Big Ten Tournament almost a month later. The match once again was close, but this time went in favor of the Hoosiers 4-3.
The redemption against the Nittany Lions was the Hoosiers’ sixth and final team win of the year. Indiana’s season ended to eventual-conference tournament champion Michigan in a 2-4 loss.
The Hoosiers have reason to be excited about next season despite this year’s letdown. All but one rotational player will return next season, including No. 1 and No. 2 singles players graduate students Carson Haskins and Patrick Fletchall. Indiana also gathered the No. 11 recruiting class in the country, with four incoming freshmen for the 2023 season.