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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

Indiana women’s tennis wins doubleheader matchups against Butler and Bellarmine

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Indiana women’s tennis began 2024 on the right foot after sweeping its doubleheader Monday in Bloomington. The Hoosiers defeated Butler University 7-0 and Bellarmine University 5-2 to improve to 2-0 on the young season. 

Indiana’s first opponent was Butler, a squad that had never beaten IU in 15 attempts entering Monday and had only been able to win one total point across those matchups. The Hoosiers continued this trend by never relenting and were fast out of the gates to win the doubles point. 

The No.1 doubles and No. 3 doubles matches were near replicas of one another, each ending in a 6-2 victory for the Hoosiers. Indiana’s No. 1 doubles pairing of redshirt junior Lara Schneider and graduate student Lene Marie Hovda won their match over Butler senior Natalie Boesing and sophomore Chase Metcalf. 

Similarly, Indiana freshman Sarah L’Allier and sophomore Nicole Teodosescu took the victory over Butler junior Norah Balthazor and freshman Lauren Cook. 

The No. 2 doubles matchup was another dominant display for Indiana as freshman Li Hsin Lin and graduate student Naby Nihalani defeated senior Delaney Schurhamer and sophomore Jordan Schildcrout. 

The singles matches were far more competitive between the two sides. IU freshman and five-star recruit Elisabeth Dunac defeated junior Emma Beavin 6-0, 6-4 to claim the first singles point, and Hovda defeated Balthazor 6-1, 6-4 to claim the second point. 

The No. 1 singles matchup between Schneider and Boesing saw both players throw haymakers, and each handled adversity quite well. Schneider broke serve in the third game and never looked back, winning the first set 6-1, but Boesing bounced back, winning the first two games of the second set.  

Schneider was not deterred, winning the next three games, then trading games back and forth until ultimately winning 7-5, erasing a 15-40 deficit in the final game. This response to adversity is not new; it’s something Schneider has been working on since she first stepped foot in Bloomington in 2020. 

“It really came down to my experience.” Schneider said after the match. “I’ve definitely been in this position before … I’m trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” 

Indiana continued its dominance on every court, winning all six singles matches and defeating Butler 7-0. 

Indiana’s second opponent of the doubleheader was Bellarmine, another team winless against the Hoosiers, though they had only faced each other twice before.  

Indiana head coach Ramiro Azcui kept the doubles lineups the same as the Butler matchup, but the previous dominant display was slightly toned down. 

Schneider and Hovda defeated juniors Ekaterina Tikhonko and Yeva Kramarova 6-2, and Teodosescu and L’Allier won 6-3 over freshman Marika Caruk and sophomore Shu Grosso, but Nihalani and Lin were defeated 6-2 by sophomore Vendula Kryslova and freshman Erica Kanna Hagi.  

Unlike the doubles pairings, Azcui chose to rotate the entire singles lineup. Of the six singles matchups, five featured Indiana freshmen – the only outlier was Teodosescu, a sophomore competing in the No. 1 singles position. That left Schneider, Hovda and Nihalani on the sideline, the only upperclassmen on the team and three of the most invaluable members. 

“Those three upperclassmen who have been there, done that, I think [their leadership’s] something that is going to help us for the rest of the season,” Azcui said after the Butler matchup. “It’s gonna help us to get those freshmen to grow up a little bit faster.” 

Those freshmen were given a serious challenge in these singles matchups as they filled out spots two through six, and Azcui used it to display his confidence in each and every one of them.  

“When I was in the locker room with the players, I said wins and losses come and go but development stays,” Azcui said after the win over Bellarmine. “I knew that I wanted to make sure that the freshman really stepped up, really believed, and I believe in them.” 

Azcui’s decision turned out to be the right one as three of his freshmen cruised to victories. Dunac won 6-1, 6-3 over Caruk, L’Allier defeated Hagi 6-2, 6-2 and Swierczynska beat Kryslova 6-3, 6-1. Indiana freshman Chase Boyer was close to joining that list after forcing a tiebreaker in a 3-6, 6-3 match, but she fell just shy of a win, losing 10-7 to freshman Nikola Kollaritsch.  

The 2-0 Hoosiers return to action in another doubleheader against Western Michigan University and Chicago State University on Sunday in Bloomington. 

Follow reporter Mateo Fuentes-Rohwer (@mfr0617) for updates through the Indiana women’s tennis season. 

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