IU men’s tennis splits pair of Big Ten matches on the road this weekend
IU men’s tennis spent a weekend away from Bloomington to take on Wisconsin and Minnesota on Friday and Sunday. The team defeated the Badgers 5-2 but fell to the Gophers 6-1.
“We had a little bit of confidence coming in from the week before and we were looking to try and get some road wins,” graduate student Bennett Crane said. “Anytime you can pick up a win when you’re not at home, it’s obviously good no matter how high or low level the team is.”
The team played Wisconsin at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Friday in Madison, Wisconsin. Although graduate student William Piekarsky and freshman Ilya Tiraspolsky won 6-3 at No. 3 doubles, Minnesota came up victorious in the two remaining doubles matches. Senior Andrew Redding and junior Patrick Fletchall lost 6-4 at No. 1 doubles, while Crane and sophomore Luka Vukovic fell 6-2 at the No. 2 spot.
“I think that after the doubles point we were kind of down because we knew that we had had the chance to win it,” Crane said. “But when we all got the first set in singles, besides the match at No. 2, it definitely helped bring everyone’s spirits up.”
The Hoosiers used that momentum to cruise through their singles matches, winning the No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 singles all in two sets. Junior Carson Haskins won 7-6(4), 6-3, while Fletchall went 6-4, 7-5 and Tiraspolsky won 6-3, 6-4.
Crane and Vukovic took their No.1 and No. 4 singles matches to three sets, grinding out victories in both. Crane won 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 while Vukovic posted a 2-6, 6-3, 5-2 victory. The only singles loss for the Hoosiers came at the No. 2 spot as Redding fell 6-1, 6-2.
“We were able to channel all of our energy together and pick up five singles wins in a row which was awesome,” Crane said.
On Sunday, IU went to Minnesota to play the Gophers at the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers picked up the doubles point as Fletchall and Redding fell 6-3 at No. 1 doubles, and Crane and Vukovic lost 6-4 at the No. 2 spot. Piekarsky and Tiraspolsky won their No. 3 doubles match 6-3.
Crane, Redding, and Fletchall lost their No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 matches in two sets, while Haskins and Vukovic fell in three sets at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots.
“I’ve been playing college tennis for a long time and Minnesota is one of the hardest places to play away matches,” Crane said. “We came up a little short in the doubles point and kind of just got outplayed in the singles. A few guys put up good fights, but it just wasn’t enough in the end.”
The team will next travel to the William Clay Ford Outdoor Courts to face No. 25 Michigan on April 3 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Hoosiers lost 2-5 to the Wolverines earlier this season on Feb. 27 in Bloomington.
“Michigan is a top team, but we were really close last time,” Crane said. “We’re just going to go in with a lot of confidence and belief that we can do it and see what happens.”
IU will then take on Michigan State on April 4 at the MSU Tennis Center in Lansing, Michigan. The last time the two programs played was Feb. 28, where the Hoosiers performed a clean sweep of the Spartans with a 7-0 performance in Bloomington.
“With Michigan State we’re just going to go in there and look to kind of take care of business quickly again,” Crane said.