Inga Radel won both her singles and doubles match against Wisconsin
Bloomington, Ind. - In what was without a doubt the closest and hardest-fought match of the Big Ten Tournament to this point, the seventh-seeded Indiana women's tennis team was edged by second-seeded Wisconsin, 4-2 at the Indiana Varsity Courts on Friday.
The Hoosiers fell to 17-9 overall, while the Badgers improved to 15-7 overall.
In claiming the victory, Wisconsin avenged a 4-3 setback at the hands of Indiana in a regular-season match played in Madison.
IU started Friday's match by winning the doubles point behind an 8-2 win from Karie Schlukebir and Linda Tran at the number one position and an 8-4 victory from Inga Radel and Dominika Walterova at the number two spot.
However, the Badgers rebounded by claiming singles wins at the number two, three, four and five positions to win the match.
Radel was the only Hoosier to be victorious in her singles match, claiming a 6-0, 6-4 decision over Wisconsin's Vanessa Rauh at the number one position. Radel's win may have been one-sided, but that certainly wasn't the case for the rest of the match, as singles matches won by the Badgers at the three and four spots both went to three sets.
"We had to get points at one, two and five," Indiana head coach Lin Loring said. "Obviously we did not get the points at two and five. Plus, when they go three sets and with (Wisconsin) being fresh with no match yesterday, I knew it would be tough. Today reflects the whole season, because we win the first day, lose the second. We win the doubles point, then lose in singles."
The momentum of the match changed from the Hoosiers' side to that of the Badgers once singles play began, with Wisconsin racing out to fast starts on four of the six singles courts.
"Our doubles came out and played a little tentative and took a back seat," Badger head coach Patti Henderson said. "I was not happy at all with that. To win, you can't play like that. We have to play our game and have patient aggressiveness, especially on courts like this that play a little slow. In singles, we got off to a good start on four of the six matches, especially at five and six, and we started to take control of the points."
With the Hoosiers getting out to a 2-0 advantage to start the match, things got tense and IU seemed to be in a position where it could have possibly made a move on the way to pulling off the upset.
"Had we won a couple in straight sets in singles, that would have put the pressure on," Loring said. "We wanted to turn one over really quick and put a momentum change on them, but again, our kids fought hard. Give Wisconsin credit. They won the matches they had to win."
With the win, Wisconsin will now face the winner of the Michigan-Ohio State match played later in the day.
"We need to come out how we did in singles," Henderson said of what her team will need to accomplish in the next round. "We need people to step up and play with confidence. We beat both Michigan and Ohio State during the regular season, so they'll want to see us. We need to start off well in doubles, which I think we are capable of."
As for Indiana, the Hoosiers will now await their fate as it pertains to the upcoming NCAA tournament.
"We are definitely on the bubble," Loring said. "We have two wins over teams that are in, with Notre Dame and Wisconsin. There are 24 automatic conference berths, and we are ranked 38. We are kind of on the bubble, and for the last four, five or six teams, they don't even look at who you lost to, but who you beat. We beat Notre Dame and Wisconsin, so if we get in, those will be the reasons."