Men's Tennis To Begin Season at Cincinnati Invitational
Sept. 21, 2006
Bloomington, Ind. - The Indiana University men's tennis team has experience on its side in the 2006 fall campaign. The team returns three players who had 20-win seasons last year, plus three others who are on the verge of jumping into the top six for the Hoosiers.
Senior David Bubenicek, and juniors Michael McCarthy and Dara McLoughlin lead the returning players. Bubenicek and McLoughlin tied for the team lead with 22 wins last season, competing and No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, while McCarthy tallied 20 wins at No. 5 singles.
The graduations of Dmytro Ishtuganov and Neil Kenner, who combined for 40 singles wins last year and were part of two key doubles combinations, will be felt. However, head coach Ken Hydinger feels like he has a strong team with several players who have the potential to improve in the fall tournaments.
"At this time of the year it's interesting to see what everyone's done over the summer," coach Hydinger said. "Some of our guys have done a very good job playing over the summer. We might see some big jumps out of some guys.
"In the fall, we plan to work on getting some different doubles combinations together. We lost our two good doubles players, so our combinations could really change up."
The Hoosiers open the season at the Cincinnati Invitational, Sept. 22-24.
"We want to see a mentality out of our team that we're ready to be a championship level team," Hydinger said. "We want to see some people step forward and not do `pretty good,' we want to see them bring it home. This fall, we want to establish that mentality, as well as work on the game and get stronger. We're in shape now, but we need to get strong. We're looking forward to every tournament."
Bubenicek is poised to compete to play at No. 1 singles this year for the Hoosiers. Last season, he tallied 22 wins, including a 10-7 record at No. 2 singles in dual meet competition. He ended the year with a three-match winning streak. Bubenicek also went 9-13 at No. 2 doubles with sophomore Peter Antons. The pair could move into the No. 1 doubles slot as the veteran returning team.
"David's improved on every aspect of his game," Hydinger said. "He's getting so much more fluid now and he's getting so much more variety in his game. David has always been a tough competitor, but I'm getting a sense that he wants just a little bit extra now, which is good. We're expecting he can do a good job stepping up after this summer."
With a strong summer, McLoughlin is also set to have a groundbreaking year. He tied for the team lead with 22 singles wins, competing primarily at the No. 3 slot, where he earned an 11-6 record. McLoughin's biggest win last year came over 60th ranked Brett Helgeston of Notre Dame. He was also strong in doubles, leading the team with 11 wins with Ishtuganov.
"Dara beat a guy who was 850 in the world this summer," Hydinger said. "He has come back in good physical condition. Last year he broke through and had some national wins. He's going in the right direction."
McCarthy also reached the 20-win plateau for Indiana. He earned a 10-9 record at No. 5 singles, as well as a 10-4 record at No. 3 doubles with Neil Kenner.
"Michael started the summer tournaments very strong, winning one of the college circuit's tournaments at Ohio State," Hydinger said. "It's tough to win those tournaments. He then had a little bit of an injury and didn't follow it up with the tournament play. That tournament showed that he was on the verge of taking another step, but because of his inability to play the rest of the summer it hasn't happened. Hopefully he'll be able to step in and pick up where things left off and take another step forward."
Antons made his mark for Indiana in doubles last year, competing with Bubenicek. The pair went 9-13 at No. 2 doubles. Antons went 5-7 in singles action, and will look to compete regularly at singles in 2006-07.
"Peter has done a very good job working this summer," Hydinger said. "He's put on a lot of strength from the start of last year, and has a better understanding of the game. He had some good wins playing some of the college tournaments this summer over guys who were middle of the lineup players for some of the good Ivy teams. Peter's a good kid who's going to work hard and he's going to fight hard. I'm hoping for big jumps from him."
Roussel transferred to the Hoosiers from Mississippi State at the start of the spring semester. He went 12-9 in singles, competing mostly at No. 6. Hydinger is looking forward to having Roussel for the entire season.
"This summer, Arnaud beat some guys who were ranked considerably higher than he had been," said Hydinger. "He came in last year at semester break, so he had not been in our conditioning program. He did a very good job this summer with the running program, and hit the weights hard. You can see that he's much stronger. Arnaud is such a good guy and a good competitor; we're looking forward to working with him for the full year. He was a good, tough pressure player for us last year, and I think he's going to make some big jumps this year."
Kendall played in eight matches last season, going 7-1 overall. He ended the year on a four-match winning streak.
"Mak took summer classes this year, which hindered his ability to play tournaments," Hydinger said. "Mak was one of the better players in the country in the 12s and 14s. He has fallen off in recent years, and it's time for him to step up. With his style of game, he needs to work hard to beat guys. He's got some definite abilities and can do some stuff with the ball. This is Mak's time for him to step up and make a name for himself."
Newcomer Paul Boskovich will also compete this fall for Indiana.
The Hoosiers are scheduled to play four fall tournaments, including playing host to the Hoosier Invitational on Oct. 20-22.
The fall season begins with the Cincinnati Invitational, before the team takes nearly a month off prior to the Midwest Regional Championship in Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 19-24.
The players wrap up the fall at the Big Ten Singles Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"The Cincinnati tournament has several teams that are going to be top-20 teams," Hydinger said. "The Midwest Regional is going to have some top-20, top-10 teams, as will the Big Ten singles championships.
"Each one is an opportunity. To be a championship team you've got to play at a high quality, and you've got to play consistently at that quality. You've got to not be satisfied; because when you become satisfied you start getting worse. Each tournament is a destination and a process."
Check back soon