LEXINGTON, Ky. -
The Indiana Hoosiers men's tennis team (24-9,7-4 Big Ten, No. 26) defeated No. 34 Louisville, 4-2, in a thrilling match in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The victory marks the second NCAA Tournament win in program history and set the IU single-season wins record.
"Our hats are off to Louisville," said Indiana head coach Randy Bloemendaal. "They fought really hard all day long. We had the lead and I think we played a little bit tight there at the end in those situations. Overall, our guys played pretty well."
The Hoosiers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the matchup before Louisville rallied to pull within one, but clutch play late at six singles by Dimitrije Tasic sealed the win for Indiana.
Josh MacTaggart and Alastair Barnes got things going for the Cream and Crimson, notching a win at two doubles, 8-3, over Sebastian Stiefelmeyer and Robert Hall. Stephen Vogl and Will Kendall sealed the doubles point with a victory at three over Adam Donaldson and Michael Lippens by a score of 8-4.
Isade Juneau continued the Hoosier momentum into singles, defeating Andrew Carter, 6-1, 7-5, at the one position. Vogl followed that up shortly after with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Lippens at two singles to give IU the 3-0 lead.
The Cardinals notched a pair of wins at the three and five spots to pull within one. Albert Wagner defeated Langer by a score of 6-2, 6-4 at three and Kendall fell to Hall 6-4, 6-2 at five.
As MacTaggart and Stiefelmeyer were battling at two singles, Tasic came through with the 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory at six over Luis Elizondo to clinch the win after rallying from a 5-1 second set deficit.
The Hoosiers will be back in action at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday against No. 6 Kentucky.
1 - No. 86 Albert Wagner/Andrew Carter (UL) vs. Isade Juneau/Jeremy Langer (IU) DNF
2 - Josh MacTaggart/Alastair Barnes (IU) def. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer/Robert Hall (UL) 8-3
3 - Stephen Vogl/Will Kendall (IU) def. Adam Donaldson/Michael Lippens (UL) 8-4
Order of Finish
Singles - 1, 4, 5, 3, 6*
Doubles - 2, 3*
QUOTES Indiana Head Coach Randy Bloemendaal On the match overall ...
"Our hats are off to Louisville. They fought really hard all day long. We had the lead and I think we played a little bit tight there at the end in those situations. Overall, our guys played pretty well."
On the possibility of facing Kentucky in the second round ...
"I think a lot of people are excited about it outside the tennis world. I think anytime Indiana and Kentucky play each other, a lot of people are paying attention. We are excited to play Kentucky if they move on."
On what his team learned with the match vs. UK earlier in the year ...
"I think we got a lot better as the season has gone on, but I think they have as well. I think we had a lot of tight matches. I am expecting the same tomorrow. It's going to be a real top match. They have a great team."
Louisville Head Coach Rex Ecarma Opening statement...
"Sometimes when you've had so much success against a program, and Indiana is a great program, one of the elite programs in the Big Ten. We haven't lost to them since like 2005. You keep in the back of your mind, `How long is this streak going to last?' I know how hungry they were, how prepared they were. They really outplayed us there at the end. I thought we were going to make a surge. We were down 3-0, 3-2. Chris Simich was up 5-1 in the second set, re-controlled that match and Sebastian [Stiefelmeyer] won the second set so I said, `Okay, here we go again.' But this time, they really put it to us."
On his thoughts about the last call of the match...
"It's a close call. It's a game of centimeters, you know? Some go our way, some don't go our way but I think that [Dimitrije Tasic] put himself in a position for a match point. Sometimes people get caught up, `Oh that point was in or out,' or, `That should have been ours.' There are about 150 points played before that point so I thought that guy played a really, really good match. He was down 1-5 and he comes back to win 7-6. That's really, really gutsy. But, I'm really proud of this team. When we talked to the seniors in our last team meeting, Sumit Gupta is crying and he says, `I don't want to leave this team. I want to be on this team forever. I want to be at this university forever. I just don't want to go anywhere else but be here.' As much as this loss hurts, when you have a senior that doesn't want to leave and says something like that and all three of the seniors said that it was best four years of their life. It's been a family and some of the most amazing things a coach could ever want to hear, I just heard in that indoor complex so I feel like we're doing something right over here."