No. 72 Indiana men’s tennis was back in action last week. The Hoosiers were out on the West Coast to take on No. 38 University of California, Santa Barbara.
“It was great. We really enjoyed being out in sunny California,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said following the road trip. “With the grind of going to school and playing indoor tennis, it’s important for the team to have that week.”
Indiana’s road struggles continued, as the Hoosiers were defeated 4-3 on March 16.
“Don’t remind me,” Wurtzman said of the Hoosiers' 0-5 road record. “It was a battle. We hadn’t played much outdoors tennis.”
The match began with a competitive battle for the doubles point. Freshmen Sam Landau and Luc Boulier grabbed the win at No. 2 doubles to get the Hoosiers off to a strong start. Shortly after, the Gauchos won a tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles, placing all the attention on the match at No. 1 doubles.
Fifth-year senior Patrick Fletchall and junior Ilya Tiraspolsky won in an intense tiebreaker against junior Kai Brady and redshirt junior Phillip Jordan — the No. 43 ranked duo in the country — to earn the hard-fought doubles point for Indiana.
“They really dug in deep and won a tough tiebreaker,” Wurtzman said. “That (pairing) is doing really well.”
The win in doubles marked the Hoosiers' 13th doubles point win of the season.
The Hoosiers couldn’t keep up the same level of intensity in singles play. The Gauchos won at No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6 singles to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
Landau, a native of Los Angles, California, won at No. 3 singles for Indiana to bring it to 3-2.
“We played in (Landau’s) backyard pretty much,” Wurtzman said. “He was used to the conditions, his family was there, it was great for him to get a win.”
It wasn’t enough, however, as the No. 110 ranked singles player in the country, junior Pablo Masjuan, won at No. 2 singles to clinch the win for the Gauchos.
Tiraspolsky won at No. 4 singles for the Hoosiers, but their fate had already been sealed. Indiana fell 4-3 to the Gauchos in its final match before Big Ten play.
“It was great to see (Tiraspolsky) fight back after losing the first set,” Wurtzman said. “That was great for him.”
The Hoosiers are 10-6 on the season but are winless away from the IU Tennis Center. The first match of the Big Ten season comes in West Lafayette against the Purdue Boilermakers at noon on Saturday.