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Tuesday, Feb. 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

Indiana women’s tennis continues Big Ten stretch back home against Michigan State

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Indiana women’s tennis is back home on Saturday to play Michigan State in Bloomington, its first home game in four weeks. 

The Hoosiers are heading into the matchup with an 11-7 overall record, 2-4 in the Big Ten after splitting last weekend’s doubleheader against No. 71 Nebraska and No. 57 Iowa. On the other side, the Spartans are 8-10 overall and on a three-game losing streak, losing seven of their last 10 games. 

Historically, Indiana usually performs well against Michigan State. They have won 12 matches and lost six to the Spartans, seven out of the 12 wins were in Bloomington — the Hoosiers have a 7-1 record at home against the Spartans. Indiana is 7-3 at home this season, while the Spartans are 2-6 away from East Lansing. 

Despite the edge on straight matchups, the Hoosiers have a losing record against Big Ten opponents this season (2-4) but, the Spartans haven’t performed well against Big Ten opponents either. Michigan State is 1-6 in the conference, losing to No. 6 Michigan, No. 57 Iowa, No. 71 Nebraska, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 34 Illinois and Northwestern. 

Indiana has won the last two matchups against Michigan State in Bloomington, a 5-2 win in 2019 and a 4-3 win in 2021. However, the Hoosiers have dropped the last two matches overall against the Spartans, losing 5-2 in both 2021 and 2022. 

For the singles matchups, Spartans’ No. 1 sophomore Liisa Vehvilainen is 8-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, including 2-2 in the last 10 games. Hoosiers’ No. 1 sophomore Lara Schneider is 12-3 overall, 5-1 in the Big Ten, and is currently on a two-game winning streak after winning both of her matchups last weekend. 

At No. 2, Spartans’ junior Ayshe Can is 4-5 overall, including 1-2 in the conference, and is coming off a loss against No. 34 Illinois. For the Hoosiers, No. 2 graduate student Saby Nihalani has been having a rough stretch recently. She is currently on a four-game losing streak, which puts her at 9-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference. 

The No. 5 matchup features a freshmen clash, Spartans’ Juliette Nask is 6-7 this season and 1-3 in the Big Ten, while Hoosiers’ Nicole Teodosescu is 6-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference, coming off a win against No. 57 Iowa’s sophomore Barbora Pokorna on Sunday. 

In doubles play, the No. 1 matchup, Hoosiers’ Schneider and Nihalani have had a tough time in the last few games, losing three in a row, which brought them to 9-5 overall and an upsetting 1-4 in the Big Ten. On the other side, Spartans’ Vehvilainen and Can are 9-5 overall, but are also on a two-game losing streak and only 1-4 in the conference. 

Head coach Ramiro Azcui has recently paired up redshirt juniors Mila Mejic and Xiaowei "Rose" Hu at No. 3, but the new double hasn’t been successful yet. The new No. 3 is 0-2 so far, both losses against Big Ten opponents, including a shutout loss to No. 57 Iowa’s freshman Pia Kranholdt and sophomore Barbora Pokorna last Sunday. As for the Spartans, No. 3 freshman Issey Purser and graduate student Nicole Conard are 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, despite coming off a loss against Northwestern last weekend. 

The Hoosiers are looking ahead to two straight Big Ten games at home, the first against the Spartans and then against Michigan. Indiana plays Michigan State at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the IU Tennis Center in Bloomington. 

Follow reporter Leo Paes (@Leordpaes) for updates throughout the match and the rest of the Indiana women’s tennis season. 
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