McLoughlin Rallies Hoosiers to Dramatic 4-3 Victory
March 15, 2006
TAMPA, Fla. - The Indiana men's tennis team continued its hot streak with a dramatic come-from-behind victory, 4-3, at South Florida. With the match on the line, sophomore Dara McLoughlin extended his personal win streak and propelled the Hoosiers to victory with a three-set win at the No. 3 singles positions. Indiana improved to 8-6 overall this season and won its third straight match on the team's spring break trip.
"This win was a major step for our team," Indiana head coach Ken Hydinger said. "We have never won at South Florida. Now our guys should know how to win the grind-it-out, tough matches. We just need to keep following the blueprint of how to get it done. The crowd was pretty intense, and I think it made our guys that much more intense. The match was a great battle. Our doubles made a big jump, and hopefully we can keep that momentum going."
With the match tied at three, it came down to the No. 3 singles spot between McLoughlin and South Florida's Mac Jaeger. Jaeger claimed the first set, 7-5, before McLoughlin rallied to force a deciding third with an identical 7-5 score in the second. The Hoosier player trailed on three separate occasions in the third set at 4-1, 5-4 and 6-5. The Dublin, Ireland native fought off numerous match points and claimed the third-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (2). The victory upped McLoughlin's winning steak to a season high five and improved his overall record to 14-11.
"Dara had the momentum and then some things didn't go his way, but he did a good job of fighting back," Hydinger said. "He is really grinding matches out and working the points. Dara is playing better and hitting the ball better out of the corners. He is cutting down on his mistakes and eliminating the lapses in concentration. Dara has a nice game, but he is doing a good job of grinding matches out."
The Hoosiers took an early lead by winning the first two doubles matches. IU claimed the doubles point for the sixth time this season with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. IU improved to 5-1 this season when claiming the doubles point. At the No. 1 slot, McLoughlin teamed with senior Dmytro Ishtuganov to defeat USF's top duo of Dirk Britzen and Freddy Barton, 8-4. The win upped the Hoosier tandem's mark to 6-5 on the year.
Senior Neil Kenner and sophomore Michael McCarthy clinched the opening point for IU with a win at the No. 3 spot. The pair picked up their first win as a team with an 8-4 victory over Juan Barragan and Mark Gattiker.
The Bulls erased the early Hoosier lead with wins at the No. 1 and No. 4 singles positions. Junior Arnaud Roussel evened the match at two with a straight-set win at the No. 6 singles position. The win evened his record at 5-5 on the year and marked his third straight victory on the spring break trip. He defeated Gattiker, 6-2, 6-1.
After Barton won at No. 2 to give USF a 3-2 lead, the match came down to a pair of three-set affairs at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. McCarthy evened the back-and-forth contest a second time for the Hoosiers with a win at the No. 5 slot. The Cincinnati, Ohio native rallied from a one-set hole to upend Dillion Brozyna, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. McCarthy garnered his team-leading 15th victory of the season, which matched the total from his rookie campaign in 2004-05. The victory by McCarthy set up McLoughlin's comeback dramatics to claim the team victory for IU.
"Michael McCarthy picked up a nice win at No. 5 singles," Hydinger said. "He did a good job of turning it around after dropping the first set."
The Hoosiers have two matches remaining on their spring break slate. Indiana will face Army on Thursday, March 16 in Tampa and finish the week with a March 18 affair at Central Florida.
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