Bloomington, Ind.- The Indiana men's tennis team continued their roll over ranked opponents as the Hoosiers swept No. 37 Middle Tennessee State, 7-0. The Hoosiers won every match, including all three doubles match-ups as they improved to 3-0 on the season. It was the second straight victory over a ranked opponent this weekend, coupled with Friday's win over No. 27 Notre Dame.
"To beat a team like Middle Tennessee State, 7-0, when they are ranked 37th in the country is an unbelievable accomplishment for these guys," Indiana interim head coach Matthew Plegder said. "The guys have been coming in day in and day out and putting their work in. I have seen the guy's improvements and their confidence getting better and better. I couldn't be any more proud of these guys."
The Hoosiers got things started by sweeping all three doubles spots. At No. 1, senior Zach Held and sophomore Ryan Recht improved to 3-1 on the year with an 8-3 win over MTSU's Kirk Jackson and Greg Pollack. Jackson is currently part of the No. 10 doubles team in the nation along with teammate Daniel Klemetz. Middle Tennesse State is without the services of Klemetz, who is out due to a knee injury.
Freshman Viktor Libal and senior Petr Novotny won at No. 2 doubles downing Trevor Short and Brandon Allan of MTSU, 8-6. The duo improved to 2-1 on the season. Freshman John Stone and sophomore Jakub Praibis made it a clean sweep with an 8-4 win over the Blue Raider duo of Anant Sitaram and Rishan Kuruppu. Praibis and Stone are a perfect 3-0 at No. 3 doubles this season.
Novotny made short work of MTSU's Michael Staniak, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 singles. The win upped Novotny's record to 2-1. Libal wasn't far behind his doubles teammate as he downed Pollack , 6-1, 7-6 (1). Libal evened his mark at 4-4 on the season.
With the match in hand, the Hoosiers were up in two matches, only needing one for victory. Sophomore Jullien Vulliez came from behind in a hard fought three set match to clinch the Hoosier victory. After losing the first set 6-2, Vulliez rebounded to win the next two, 6-3, 6-3, to pick up his team-high seventh victory on the season over Trevor Short. Short was moved down in the line-up against the Hoosiers after playing No. 2 singles against Louisville.
Recht followed Vulliez in as he claimed a 6-3, 7-5 win over MTSU's Kuruppu. Recht improved to 5-2 on the season and 3-0 in dual matches.
With the match's outcome a forgone conclusion, Indiana's No. 1 singles player, Praibis, and No. 4 player, Held, both rebounded from first set losses to claim their matches. Praibis bounced No. 92 ranked Kirk Jackson, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Held downed Brandon Allan. With the match even after matching 7-6 (6) sets, one going each way, Held claimed a 14-12 win in the super tie-breaker.
"With Zach (Held) and Jullien (Vulliez) both having tough matches on Friday against Notre Dame, and then having to come here today and got into three sets again, I know they were pretty tired," Pledger said. "As for the rest of the guys, everyone played an awesome match today. They might not have played as well as they would have actually liked, but they put their heart and soul on the line, and they got the job done"
Indiana will continue its four-match homestand when they host North Carolina State next Saturday, Feb. 1, at 11:00 a.m.
Indiana 7, No. 37 Middle Tennessee State 0
No. 1 Jakub Praibis (IU) def. No. 92 Kirk Jackson (MTSU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 Viktor Libal (IU) def. Greg Pollack (MTSU) 6-1, 7-6 (1)
No. 3 Petr Novotny (IU) def. Michael Staniak (MTSU) 6-1, 6-0
No. 4 Zach Held (IU) def. Brandon Allan (MTSU) 6-7 (6), 7-6 (6), 14-12
No. 5 Ryan Recht (IU) def. Rishan Kuruppu (MTSU) 6-3, 7-5 No. 6 Julien Vulliez (IU) def. Trevor Short (MTSU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3