Bloomington, Ind.- The Indiana men's tennis team continued their five-match winning streak in stellar fashion with yet another upset, this time over No. 37 Louisville, 5-2. It is the third time this season that Indiana has defeated a team ranked higher than them. They also pulled the feat with upsets over Notre Dame and Middle Tennessee State early this season.
"I am so proud of this team," Indiana interim head coach Matt Pledger said. "Louisville is a really good team, and they came in with a lot of fans with them. Their fans were fired up, and they came out ready to play. We have had a lot of good matches this year, and we just keep that momentum rolling."
Indiana's doubles set the tone for the match as Indiana claimed the doubles point amidst some intense matches. The clincher came in the No. 1 match where Hoosier senior Zach Held and sophomore Ryan Recht squared off with the 22nd ranked team in the nation in the form of Cody Conley and Octavian Nicodim. On serve at 6-5, the IU duo broke Conley and Nicodim, and then Recht served out the match for an 8-5 win. The Hoosier pair improved to 4-1 on the season.
"Zach and Ryan did an awesome job today," Pledger said. "I really feel like that doubles point is important. They fought and it was the No. 22 team in the country that they beat. To beat them here on these types of courts is phenomenal. When you play a good team on fast courts in doubles, it is always tough. They gave themselves so many opportunities and really pulled it through. That really set the tone for the whole match. I think the doubles point is one of Louisville's stronger points."
Louisville took an early advantage in the doubles with an 8-5 win at the No. 2 spot, but the Hoosiers No. 3 team responsed to even it up. The team of freshman John Stone and sophomore Jakub Praibis won at No. 3 with a 9-8 (3) tie-breaker win. The win improved the duo to 5-0 on the season.
Indiana's singles picked up right were the doubles left off. Praibis was looking to avenge his first collegiate loss at the hands of Louisville's Paulo Carvahlo. Carvahlo downed Praibis in three sets last season 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. The Czech Republic native did exactly what he set out to do as he cruised past the 111th ranked singles player 6-2, 6-1. Praibis improved to 7-2 on the season and 5-0 during the spring. He has now downed three ranked opponents this season.
"I know he played this guy last year and lost a tough three set match," Pledger said. "He really wanted this guy today. He has been playing really well, although he has been a little under the weather. He is just playing smart tennis and giving himself every opportunity to win. I am just impressed with him right now; it has been awesome to watch the way he has been playing. To beat a guy that is ranked in the top 115 in the country says a lot about Jakub."
Indiana's No. 2 and No. 3 players made short work of Louisville as well. At No. 2, freshman Viktor Libal was the first Hoosier off the court with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Conley. He is now 6-4 on the year and 4-1 during the spring. Senior Petr Novotny downed Louisville's Octavian Nicodim in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. Novotny's match actually clinched the IU win as he improved to 4-1 this season.
Sophomore Julien Vulliez continued to roll at the No. 6 position as he picked up his ninth victory of the season. Vulliez has a 9-3 mark on the year and 5-0 during the spring. The Ozoir La Ferriere, France, native broke Louisville's Jake Kirts to win the first set 7-5. He then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second on his way to the win at 6-2.
The Hoosiers will return to action tomorrow afternoon when they battle the 54th ranked Memphis Tigers. The match carries a 3:00 p.m. start time at the Indiana Tennis Center.
#45 Indiana 5, #37 Louisville 2
No. 1 Jakub Praibis (IU) def. Paulo Carvahlo (UL) 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 Viktor Libal (IU) def. Cody Conley (UL) 6-4, 6-2
No. 3 Petr Novotny (IU) def. Octavian Nicodim (UL) 6-2, 6-3
No. 4 Matt Mayer (UL) def. Zach Held (IU) 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 Jhonny Berrido (UL) def. Ryan Recht (IU) 7-5, 6-4
No. 6 Julien Vulliez (IU) def. Jake Kirts (UL) 7-5, 6-2