The 32nd-ranked Hoosiers play their final two matches of their four-match road stretch when they open Big Ten play. Indiana takes on Wisconsin on Saturday, March 27 at 11 a.m. The Hoosiers then play sixth-ranked Northwestern at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 28.
Things Get Tough
Indiana has a tough schedule this year. The Hoosiers face 14 ranked opponents this season. Six of those opponents are currently in the top-25, and eight of Indianas matches against ranked opponents will be played on the road. On the season, the Hoosiers are 2-4 when playing an opponent ranked in the top-25 at the time of the match.
Look no further than the Cream and Crimson. When the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its team rankings on March 23, the Hoosiers slipped in the rankings to 32nd.
When the national player rankings came out on March 23, three Indiana womens players were recognized. Senior Martina Grimm, junior Dora Vastag and sophomore Sarah Batty all remained ranked among the best in the nation.
Vastag improved in the singles rankings to 39th. Her record this spring is 8-4, and 13-6 overall. Her eight victories include knocking off current 27th-ranked Tammy Encina of Tennessee, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, and when Indiana faced Kentucky, Vastag defeated currently 23rd-ranked Aibika Kalsarieva in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. Her latest victory came against 47th-ranked Paty Aburto of TCU, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Three of her four losses this spring came against opponents ranked in the top-20. In a hard-fought match against current seventh-ranked Amanda Johnson of Duke, she was able to force the match into a third set where she ended up falling, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. Then against Notre Dame, she fell to now 10th-ranked Alicia Salas, 6-0, 6-2. Her last defeat was against 16th-ranked Jessica Roland of Texas A&M, 6-3, 6-0.
Grimm and Batty continued to be ranked in doubles at 38th. The tandem is 3-2 in matches this spring and 8-3 overall. To begin the spring, they fell 9-7 to Maharaj and Robards of Tennessee. They rebounded against Duke with a 9-8 victory over Zika and Cargill to secure Indiana the doubles point. They fell 8-5 to Kalsarieva and Maurer of Kentucky. Finally, against Notre Dame, the tandem picked up the Hoosiers only doubles win, defeating L. Connelly and Salas, 8-6, giving the Irish duo their first loss of the season.
Wisconsin has one ranked player. Katie McGaffigan is ranked 58th with a record of 9-5 this spring.
Northwestern on the other hand, is ranked sixth as a team, with two ranked singles players and doubles team. Cristelle Grier is ranked third in singles with a record of 13-1 this spring, and Jessica Rush is ranked 38th with a dual record of 10-4. In doubles, Cristelle Grier and Jessica Rush on ranked second with a record of 12-2 on the spring.
When Wisconsin hosts Indiana, it will be the first home match for the Badgers since Feb. 21st. The Badgers are 7-7, (0-1 Big Ten), and 4-4 at home this spring. Most recently, Wisconsin picked up a victory against Miami (Ohio), 5-2.
This will be the 42nd meeting between the Badgers and Hoosiers. Indiana leads the overall series 33-9, and has a 10-5 advantage when playing Wisconsin in Madison, The season when the two teams met, Wisconsin captured the
win, 5-2 in Bloomington.
The Wildcats are 10-3 (1-0 Big Ten), and 7-0 at home this spring. Northwestern is 4-3 against opponents ranked in the latest top-25, including wins against 18th-ranked Kentucky, 16th-ranked Taxes A&M, 24th-ranked Harvard and seventh-ranked Washington. Northwestern comes into Sunday riding a four-match winning streak, most recently against DePaul, 6-1.
Indiana has a 14-match advantage in the overall series record, 28-14. The Hoosiers are currently on a seven-match skip against the Wildcats, with their last victory coming during the Big Ten Championships of the 1997-98 season.
Breaking Last Years Record
Last season, Indiana had an overall record of 9-17. A win this week would tie the number of wins the Hoosiers picked up last season, and winning both matches would surpass the number of wins.
Last Time Out
The 23rd-ranked Indiana womens tennis team dropped both matches while on its spring break trip to Texas. The Hoosiers first fell, 6-1, to the 18th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies on Tuesday, March 16th. With the loss, Texas A&M remains undefeated at home this spring.
Indiana jumped out to the early lead by capturing the doubles point behind the dominating performances of duos sophomore Sarah Batty and senior Linda Tran and senior Karie Schlukebir and junior Dora Vastag. Batty and Tran defeated Roland and Walker, 8-3, and Schlukebir and Vastag downed Lee and Lubinsky, 8-4.
Texas A&M was able to come on strong in singles and capture a sweep at all six positions. Freshman Laura McGaffigan was the final Hoosier to complete her match, and the only member to take a set against the Aggies. McGaffigan won the first set over Lauren Walker before falling in the second and third, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.
The Hoosiers then traveled to Texas Christian where they fell, 5-2, to 40th-ranked Texas Christian in what came down to a battle in singles. Indiana finished the trip with an 8-5 record on the season.
Indiana went down early losing the doubles point. Senior Martina Grimm and freshman Laura McGaffigan captured Indianas only doubles win, 8-5, over Aburto and Mancinas.
It appeared Indiana was in trouble going down 3-0 early, before junior Dora Vastag, McGaffigan, senior Karie Schlukebir and freshman Cecile Perton forced their matches into a third set. Of those four matches, only Vastag and Schlukebir were able to pull out wins. Vastag defeated 39th-ranked Paty Aburto, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, while Schlukebir was victorious over Karla Mancinas, 6-, 2-6, 6-3.
This marks Indianas first lost to Texas Christian. The Hoosiers had previously defeated the Horned Frogs in all 10 matches played between the two schools.
No. 18 Texas A&M - 6, No. 23 Indiana - 1
1) Jessica Roland (A&M) def. Dora Vastag (IU); 6-3, 6-0
2) Helga Vieira (A&M) def. Linda Tran (IU); 6-2, 6-4
3) Roberta Spencer (A&M) def. Sarah Batty (IU); 7-6 (1), 6-1
4) Lauren Walker (A&M) def. Laura McGaffigan (IU); 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
5) Nicki Mechem (A&M) def. Karie Schlukebir (IU); 6-2, 7-5
6) Anna Lubinsky (A&M) def. Cecile Perton (IU); 7-5, 6-2
Order of finish: 2, 1, 5, 3, 6, 4
Indiana continued to be ranked in the ITA top-75 rankings for the sixth-straight week. The Hoosiers enter the week with a 32nd overall ranking.
Around the Big Ten
The Big Ten Conference is well represented in the ITA rankings with seven out of 11 teams among the top 75.
The Hoosiers return home for a two-match home stand as they open the Big Ten home season. Indiana takes on 52nd-ranked Ohio State on Saturday, April 3 at 10 a.m. The Hoosiers then play Penn State at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 4.