Hoosiers Step Up to Claim Victory over No. 38 Minnesota
April 15, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS - For the first time in over 21 years, the No. 64 Indiana men's tennis team defeated No. 38 Minnesota, 5-2, in Minneapolis on April 15. With senior captain Neil Kenner out of the lineup in singles due to an injury, the bottom of the Hoosier lineup moved up a spot a piece and claimed two of the final three singles victories to propel IU to the victory. The win snapped a 13-match losing streak against the Golden Gophers. Indiana evened its Big Ten mark at 4-4 and upped its overall record to 15-8 in snapping a five-match winning streak for Minnesota (12-10, 6-2 Big Ten).
"This win is huge for our programs and really shows how the guys are fighting hard and really developing," Indiana head coach Ken Hydinger said. "It is a big step forward for us, and given that our captain went out in doubles with an injury, it shows the resiliency of the guys to win this match. We had a number of guys step up in big situations. We have things going in the right direction, and the guys pulled it together and showed a lot of heart. It has been a while since we won at Minnesota, and this was a great win against a really good team that comes to battle."
The last time the Hoosiers won in Minneapolis was April 6, 1985. It also was the first win over Minnesota since a 4-3 victory on Feb. 21, 1997 in Bloomington. The win also was the second this season against a top-40 opponent on the road for the Hoosiers, who have won 10 of their last 12 matches.
With the doubles even at one apiece, the Hoosiers' No. 2 team of freshman Peter Antons and junior David Bubenicek rallied from a break down to claim the point. The 9-8 victory over Minnesota's duo of Andres Osorio and Sion Wilkins snapped a five-match losing streak and marked the pair's 11th victory of the season.
"The real turning point in the match was the play of our freshman Peter Antons in No. 2 doubles," Hydinger said. "David (Bubenicek) was playing well, and Peter just turned it on and fought hard. He really grinded it out and hit some quality shots. We needed it because we had lost at No. 1 and were winning at No. 3, but at No. 2, we were down a break. Peter really pumped up our team, and I felt like it really challenged them to play well in singles."
The No. 3 tandem of Kenner and sophomore Michael McCarthy defeated Nic Edlefsen and D.J. Geatz, 8-6. The win was the ninth in the last 10 matches for Kenner and McCarthy as they improved to 9-3 on the season, including a 5-1 Big Ten ledger.
After not playing well in a loss at the No. 1 doubles position, senior Dmytro Ishtuganov and sophomore Dara McLoughlin turned it on in the singles with victories over ranked opponents to start the Hoosier onslaught. Ishtuganov knocked off his second top-60 opponent in three weeks with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 59 Geatz at the No. 1 position. The win marked Ishtuganov's 20th of the season and his third over a ranked foe.
McLoughlin also notched his third victory over a ranked opponent this season with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 121 Edlefsen at the No. 3 spot. The Dublin, Ireland native improved to 21-13 overall on the season and upped his Big Ten mark to 5-3. McLoughlin has won 12 of his last 14 matches.
"The victories at No. 1 and No. 3 singles were huge," Hydinger said. "Neither Dmytro nor Dara played well in doubles, but they came out and played like men in the singles. Their victories really got us going in singles and came against two ranked players. I think that speaks volumes of their resolve and mental toughness to rebound like that and play that well against two tough opponents."
With Kenner out at the No. 4 singles position due to injury, Hydinger bumped up McCarthy to No. 4 and junior Arnaud Roussel to No. 5. He also inserted redshirt freshman Mak Kendall into the No. 6 slot. Although forced by the injury, the move shined for the Hoosiers as IU won two of the three slots.
Kendall and Roussel both claimed three-set victories. Roussel clinched the Hoosier victory as he rallied from a set deficit to win at the No. 5 position. After dropping the first set to Raoul Schwark, 6-2, Roussel forced a decisive third with a 6-3 second-set win. The junior transfer notched his 11th overall win and third Big Ten victory with a 6-4 tally in the third set. It marked only the second time this season that Roussel rallied from a set deficit to win in three sets.
"Arnaud lost the first set, but really turned it around," Hydinger said. "He played a lot of long points in the second set and got things going his way. He went up 5-1 in the third, but the Minnesota player closed to 5-4. Arnaud got down early in his service game, but hit some winning volleys down the stretch to clinch the match. He was really pumped up after the victory."
Kendall, who was playing in his first match since March 25, defeated Sion Wilkins, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, at the No. 6 slot. The win upped his impressive singles record to 7-1 and was his fourth straight victory.
"With Neil Kenner out in singles, we had to bump everyone up and move Mak Kendall in at the No. 6 position," Hydinger said. "I was extremely proud of the way the guys play at the bottom of the lineup. Mak hasn't played that much this year, but he really came out to play and picked up a big win for us."
The Hoosiers close out the Big Ten slate with a pair of home affairs on April 21 and 23. Indiana will host Michigan State at 2 p.m., on Friday, April 22, before battling No. 36 Michigan at noon on Sunday, April 23. Both matching are slated for the Varsity Tennis Courts.
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