Hoosiers Open Spring Season with Home Doubleheader
Jan. 17, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The No. 60 Indiana men's tennis team opens up its 2006 spring season with a doubleheader on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Indiana Tennis Center. The Hoosiers will open with defending Horizon League champion Butler at 9 a.m. followed by a 3:30 p.m. affair with Missouri Valley Conference foe Bradley.
The Hoosiers are 18-2 in home openers under head coach Ken Hydinger. Last season, IU opened the home regular season slate with a pair of 7-0 victories in a doubleheader. Indiana defeated Murray State and Butler on Jan. 29, 2005.
Butler returns all but one starter from a squad that went 15-13 a season ago on its way to an NCAA Tournament berth and the Horizon League Championship. Senior James Low returns as the Bulldogs top singles player. He went 20-13 while playing exclusively at the No. 1 position. Junior Evan Bush also racked up an impressive singles mark at 21-9.
Low and senior Andy Bartish made up the top doubles duo for the Bulldogs last season, amassing a 13-8 record. Senior Brandon Gill and Bartish captured the championship in the top flight of doubles at the Boilermaker Invitational earlier this season, posting a 3-0 record.
The Bulldogs are led by Jason Suscha, who is in his 10th season at the helm. During his previous nine seasons, Butler has advanced to the finals of the Horizon League tournament every season, while taking home the title in eight of those tournaments. Suscha has led Butler to the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons.
Last season, Bradley finished the year at 7-16 overall record, but did have a pair of All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Wil Lofgren and Marko Marevic were both named first team all-conference honorees. Marevic has been a first team All-MVC choice each of his first three seasons at Bradley, including taking home the 2004 Player of the Year and 2003 Freshman of the Year honors. Marevic and Lofgren are the only two Bradley men's tennis players to earn all-conference honors since the Valley began recognizing the league's top players in 1993.
Lofgren went 21-15 last season and this year, he leads the Braves with a 6-3 mark. He has won four of his last six matches during the fall. Lofgren teamed with junior Matt Metully to form the Braves' top doubles tandem of the fall season. The duo went 6-4 overall and advanced to the second round of the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles Main Draw.
The Braves are led by sixth-year head man Drew Barrett. He led the program to a school-record four Missouri Valley Conference wins in 2004. That season, Bradley finished 10-10 overall and 4-4 in conference action. The Braves finished the 2003 season ranked 13th in the final ITA Central Region poll.
Hoosiers Ranked 60th
The Hoosiers will have 11 opponents on their 2006 schedule that are ranked in the Fila Top 75 rankings. Those teams include No. 4 Illinois, No. 18 Ohio State, No. 26 Notre Dame, No. 32 Louisville, No. 34 Middle Tennessee State, No. 48 Michigan, No. 51 Northwestern, No. 54 Minnesota, No. 61 Penn State, No. 68 Ball State and No. 73 Michigan State.
Regional Singles and Doubles Rankings
Last season, the Hoosiers had the same number of singles players and one doubles team ranked in the Fall Midwest Rankings. Jakub Praibis was ranked 16th a season ago, while current sophomore Michael McCarthy was 26th during the fall of his rookie campaign. The doubles team of John Stone and Ryan Recht was ranked 11th in the fall doubles rankings last season.
The Hoosiers are one of eight teams with multiple individuals ranked among the top 30 in the Midwest. Of those eight teams, six are from the Big Ten Conference.
Ishtuganov to the Finals
Along his road to the finals, the Kiev, Ukraine native disposed of Ohio State's Bryan Koniecko, who was ranked 120th nationally, in straight sets. Koniecko is ranked 10th in the Midwest Region Rankings. Ishtuganov finished the fall campaign with a 7-4 record. The Hoosier senior also notched victories over Ohio State's Ty Schaub (6-1, 6-1), Peter Aarts of Michigan (6-2, 6-2), Minnesota's Andres Osorio (6-1, 6-4) and 10th-seeded Dennis Mertens of Ohio State (6-3, 0-6, 6-4).
McLoughlin Coming on Strong
McLoughlin, the 15th seed, ran off four straight wins before falling to eventual champion Nolan Polley of Wisconsin. The Dublin, Ireland native defeated Chaitu Malempati of Iowa (6-3, 6-2), Northwestern's Matt Christian (3-6, 6-2, 6-1), Brenden Lynch of Penn State (6-1, 6-2) and Purdue's Patrick Rose (6-3, 6-4).
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