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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

Iowa proves to be too much for injury-riddled Indiana women’s tennis

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Throughout this season, Indiana women’s tennis head coach Ramiro Azcui stressed the talent of his freshman class. Several instances across the spring have given truth to this claim, such as the comeback heroics of Magdalena Swierczynska against Cornell University or the tremendous success of Elisabeth Dunac. 

 

Saturday granted these freshmen another chance to showcase their skills. In Indiana’s first Big Ten matchup against No. 66 Iowa, injuries to redshirt junior Lara Schneider and graduate student Saby Nihalani led to a singles lineup consisting of four freshmen and one sophomore.  

“They feel bad that they’re not able to compete,” Azcui said about Schneider and Nihalani after the match. “When your No. 1 and No. 3 players are not competing in your lineup, it’s just a different lineup.” 

Contrary to its previous matches, Indiana struggled to muster any sort of success, suffering a 6-1 flattening at the hands of the Hawkeyes inside the IU Tennis Center. While the Hoosiers have suffered losses throughout the season, none were as frustrating for Azcui as this one. 

“I don’t think we competed as well as we have been playing lately,” Azcui said. “It’s something that we gotta keep working on. Very proud [but] they’re gonna have to step it up.” 

The warning signs were evident early on once Iowa gained a 1-0 lead from the doubles point. After splitting the first two doubles matches, the deciding match fell to Indiana graduate student Lene Mari Hovda and Dunac against Iowa junior Barbora Pokorna and sophomore Pia Kranholdt. A 4-0 deficit for the Hoosiers created too big a hole to escape, and despite a late push, Dunac and Hovda lost 6-4. 

The advantage was one Iowa would never relinquish. Dunac and freshman Li Hsin Lin each suffered defeats at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles courts, respectively — high-level positions which neither athlete had competed at so far this season. Neither freshman was able to maintain any consistency as Dunac lost 6-1, 6-2 and Lin was bested by a similar scoreline of 6-2, 6-1.  

Iowa solidified its victory through a dominating display by Vipasha Mehra. The senior locked up the Hawkeyes’ fourth point with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Indiana’s Swierczynska. 

The only point Indiana gained was through freshman Sarah L’allier. The action on court No. 6 was lopsided in favor of the Hoosier as she picked up her third singles win of the season 6-1, 6-3. 

Indiana hosts both Minnesota (7-3) and No. 24 Wisconsin (7-2) next weekend. The matches will be crucial in deciding how the rest of the season plays out for the Hoosiers, considering they will face seven top 75 teams in the remaining nine matches after the weekend, including bouts against No. 3 Michigan and No. 9 Ohio State. 

“That’s the Big Ten,” Azcui said. “The Big Ten is a very solid conference in tennis, and we have some really good teams. We just have to keep believing in what we’re doing.” 

The match against Minnesota will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday followed by the match against Wisconsin at 11 a.m. Sunday. 

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

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