#41 Hoosiers Rock #15 Michigan in 5-2 Victory
April 19, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The #41 Indiana University men's tennis team (15-7, 5-4 Big Ten) began the final weekend of the regular season with a bang, notching a 5-2 victory over #15 Michigan (17-4, 7-2). An intense and focused Hoosier squad earned the doubles point and the first four singles contests to go ahead 5-0.
"It sounds cliché, but we did the right things today," said Head Coach Randy Bloemendaal. "It started at 8 a.m. this morning and continued throughout the whole day. We got up early and didn't give Michigan a chance to gain any momentum."
Indiana was able to capture the momentum early with stellar play in the doubles competition. Seniors Dara McLoughlin and Thomas Richter were the first tandem to finish, posting an 8-5 win in the No. 1 doubles slot. It was the 63rd doubles win of McLoughlin's career, moving him into 9th place all-time in the IU record books, surpassing David Held's 62 victories from 1990-93. Richter has now won 62 doubles contests with 39 of those wins coming at Indiana.
Phillip Eilers and Lachlan Ferguson were not far behind at No. 2 doubles. Their 8-4 win over Jason Jung and Mike Sroczynski, the 30th-ranked doubles team in the country, clinched the team doubles point.
Many freshmen may be intimidated playing against a team that has been ranked as high as #8 this season, but that was definitely not the case for IU's trio of first-year players in the singles line-up. Eilers wasted little time in his match, rolling to a 6-2, 6-4 besting of Mike Sroczynski.
Meanwhile in the fourth singles flight, Ferguson found himself trailing 5-6 in the opening set. The "man from down under" then got hot, fighting back to take the set in a 7-3 tiebreaker before winning the second as well, 6-2. The Australia native improved to 6-3 in the Big Ten.
Santiago Gruter is another freshman that has won six Big Ten matches thus far. His match on Saturday put Indiana up 4-0 and sealed the deal. He, too, overcame a 5-6 deficit with a tiebreaker win. Gruter's tiebreaker came in the second set and caused a loud uproar inside the IU Tennis Center as the fans knew it handed the Cream and Crimson the crucial fourth team point.
"The crowd support today was great," said Bloemendaal. "Our guys really feed off their energy. Santi(ago) clinching the win as a freshman, that's pretty special."
Richter looked across the net and saw his eighth nationally-ranked opponent of the year in #47 Matko Maravic. Richter grabbed the first set via a 10-8 tiebreaker, but dropped the second stanza, 6-4. With the team result already determined, the No. 1 singles contest was decided by a 10-point tiebreaker rather than a complete third set, and Richter won that won as well, 10-5. On the year, he is now 4-4 versus nationally-ranked opponents.
The Hoosiers can guarantee a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament by defeating #42 Penn State on Sunday. The home match is scheduled to begin at noon and will be held outside, weather permitting. If inclement weather does arrive, the match will be moved indoors to the IU Tennis Center.
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