Bubenicek Guts Out Three-Set Win to Clinch IU Victory
March 31, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - On the strength of a gutsy effort from junior David Bubenicek, the Indiana men's tennis team tallied its eighth straight victory with a 4-3 victory over Wisconsin on March 31. The Hoosiers played their first match outdoors in Bloomington and notched the victory with Bubenicek's come-from-behind, three-set victory at the No. 2 position. The win improved Indiana's record to 13-6 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play, while Wisconsin fell to 8-7 overall and 1-3 in the conference ledger.
"This was definitely a team effort and your typical Big Ten battle," Indiana head coach Ken Hydinger said. "The conditions were windy, but I think once the players adapted it turned into a game. Both teams were playing some good tennis, and in the end, whoever was playing better tennis at each position won. David (Bubenicek) beat this year's Big Ten singles champion. He has ice water in his veins and just doesn't make mistakes. He did a great job of putting the ball in play and returning an incredibly difficult lefty serve."
With the match tied at three, the team outcome came down to the No. 2 position. After dropping the first set, 6-2, to the reigning Big Ten Indoor Singles Champion Nolan Polley, Bubenicek rallied to take the second set, 6-3, to force a deciding third. On serve at 4-3 in the second set, the Hoosier junior broke Polley and served out the set. In the decisive set, Bubenicek continued to roll by picking up breaks to take 3-2 and 5-2 leads, before serving out a 6-2 victory. It was the first three-set victory of the season for Bubenicek after he had dropped his previous three marathon affairs. He improved to 18-7 on the year and 2-2 in conference matches with his fourth straight win.
"I just tried to stay patient and wait for him to make a mistake," Bubenicek said. "I was concentrating, especially in the second and third sets, on putting my first serve in. Early on he was really attacking my second serve. I was trying to put a lot of balls in play and make him work. I feel great right now. This was a great win for me and the team, and it is really a confidence boost going into Northwestern."
The Hoosiers dropped the doubles point to open the match despite taking an early lead with a victory at the No. 3 doubles position. The duo of senior Neil Kenner and sophomore Michael McCarthy garnered its sixth straight victory in dominating fashion. The Hoosier tandem disposed of Wisconsin's Elliot Bisnow and Brennan Phippen, 8-1, to give IU the early doubles advantage. The Badgers rallied with a pair of tight, 8-6, victories at the No. 1 and No. 2 slots to claim the opening team point of the match.
Indiana claimed the first three points in singles with straight-set victories at the No. 3, No. 6 and No. 4 positions. The victories gave Indiana a 3-1 team lead with three matches left to decide. The problem was that Wisconsin was up a set in those matches at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 slots.
Sophomore Dara McLoughlin continued his stellar play at the No. 3 position with his 10th straight win on the year. The Dublin, Ireland native went up a break early, 2-1, but found himself in a 5-3 hole with Wisconsin's Brennan Phippen serving for the match. McLoughlin broke the Badgers' serve and then went on to win the match's 10 points to claim the victory. He closed out the first set, 7-5, before sweeping through the second, 6-0. The win upped his season ledger to 19-11, including a 13-6 dual-match mark.
Junior Arnaud Roussel and Kenner nailed down the No. 6 and No. 4 positions, respectively, in straight sets to up the IU cushion to 3-1. Roussel rolled past Gian Hodgson, 6-3, 6-2. With the match even at three in the first, Roussel claimed the final three points of the set and continued his solid play in the second. The win marked the first Big Ten victory for Roussel as he upped his season ledger to 9-6. Kenner improved to 13-9 overall and evened his Big Ten mark at 2-2 with a straight set win at No. 4. He defeated Lachezar Kasarov, 6-2, 6-1.
IU led 3-1 with three quick victories in singles before Wisconsin evened things up with wins at the No. 1 and No. 5 positions. In the meantime, at No. 2, Bubenicek rallied after dropping the first set to win the second and a deciding third. The third set not only decided the match at No. 2, but the team outcome as well.
The Hoosiers will continue their three-match conference homestand with an April 2 contest against No. 59 Northwestern. The contest is slated for noon and will be played at either the IU Varsity Tennis Courts (outdoors) or the IU Tennis Center (indoors) depending on weather.
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