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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

Indiana women’s tennis losing skid reaches 8 in defeats to Michigan, Michigan State

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Following a 4-1 home defeat to Penn State on March 24, Indiana women’s tennis head coach Ramiro Azcui predicted the possibility of a turbulent stretch upcoming for his team. 

“It’s not going to get easier,” Azcui said. “And now we’re going on the road. That’s going to be a big challenge for us.” 

The challenge Azcui spoke of proved to be too big to overcome for the young, injury-riddled Indiana squad as it suffered crushing defeats to both Michigan and Michigan State over the weekend. The losses extended the Hoosiers’ losing streak to a season-worst eight matches, dropping their record to 6-15 overall and 0-7 in conference play. 

Injuries continued to be a nagging issue for Indiana with redshirt junior Lara Schneider, the team’s No. 1 singles leader, sidelined for both matches. However, freshman Sarah L’allier returned and immediately slotted into the No. 3 doubles pairing with fellow freshman Elisabeth Dunac. 

Entering the match Saturday, Indiana faced a daunting task. Michigan ranked No. 2 nationally with six players ranked in the top 115, the highest being No. 3 Kari Miller. The Wolverines held a 16-3 record with all of their losses coming to ranked teams, two of which were tight contests against current No. 1 Oklahoma State. 

Even with Miller sitting out the match, Indiana’s injuries coupled with Michigan’s talent created an unpleasant situation for the Hoosiers. This became evident when the Wolverines quickly took the doubles point in 6-0 and 6-1 victories on the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles courts, respectively. 

The struggles continued for Indiana with three quick singles losses, each in straight sets. The first two came in succession as freshman Reese Miller demolished freshman Magdalena Swierczynska 6-1, 6-1 and No. 68 sophomore Lily Jones dominated freshman Li Hsin Lin 6-0, 6-4. 

Indiana’s bleeding only stopped once sophomore Nicole Teodosescu lost the No. 1 singles match to No. 44 senior Gala Mesochoritou 6-4, 6-0, granting the Wolverines their fourth point and ending the match 4-0. 

With a second match of the weekend still to play, Indiana hopped on Interstate 96 to make the one-hour trip from Ann Arbor to East Lansing to face Michigan State.  

Unlike its in-state rivals, Michigan State’s success has fluctuated throughout the season — a promising 6-3 start turned into a lackluster 9-10 record. Heading into Sunday, the Spartans sported a four-game losing streak, all within conference play. 

Even with tighter doubles matches than the day before, Indiana failed to win the doubles point with two 6-4 defeats on the No. 2 and No. 3 courts. The 1-0 deficit reflected Indiana’s recent troubles in the doubles matches — the Hoosiers have failed to obtain the doubles point in eight of their last nine contests. 

Singles matches began with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat for Teodosescu against Michigan State sophomore Matilde Morais on the No. 1 singles court, and junior Liisa Vehvilainen followed suit by dominating Dunac 6-1, 6-4 in No. 2 singles. 

In the No. 6 singles match, Swierczynska bested freshman Natalie Stasny 6-3 in the first set. However, that would be the Hoosier’s only success in the duel as Stasny defeated her 6-3 and 6-1 in the remaining sets, capping off the Spartans’ successful day with the critical fourth point. 

Swierczynska’s match ended just before Lin was able to win a sixth game in her third set, which would have resulted in Indiana's first victory of the weekend. Instead, the Hoosiers lost 4-0, a scoreline they’ve seen in four of their last five games. 

With only four games left in the regular season, the opportunities dwindle for Indiana to find its first Big Ten victory. The first of those four games will be against No. 49 Maryland on Sunday, April 7, in College Park, Maryland. 

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

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