The Indiana men’s tennis team started the spring season in a dominant fashion by beating the University of Toledo 6-1 and beating Bellarmine University 7-0. Of the 17 games played, Indiana lost only one.
Indiana took doubles in both games and won games with five different combinations of players. The singles lineup changed throughout the day, with two thrilling No. 1 wins for Indiana. Senior Carson Haskins came out on top in a 6-4, 4-6, 11-9 battle against Toledo and sophomore Ilya Tiraspolsky took a 6-2, 7-5 win against Bellarmine.
Head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said the decision to move Indiana’s players into the lineup came for several reasons.
“We’re still trying to find our double pairs and watch different teams play together,” Wurtzman said. “Some guys had some long singles in the morning too, and I wanted to make sure they didn’t overdo it.”
The moves paid off for the Hoosiers as the players’ abilities to finish tight matches came to full effect. Senior Vikash Singh completed a well-fought comeback with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 win against Toledo’s Luka Jankovic. Junior Luka Vukovic took a 6-4, 6-2 win over Bellarmine junior Paul Reynolds. Senior Patrick Fletchall withdrew in the second set after avoiding a tiebreak in the first to defeat Bellarmine’s Jack Batchelor 7-5, 6-1.
Wurtzman said it is important to learn how to handle pressure in competitive matches.
“It’s hard to simulate that in practice, so I think it was a really good test for us today,” Wurtzman said. “Our expectations were high and I was ready for our older boys to perform and for our younger boys to surprise us.”
One of those younger players, Tiraspolsky, stood out amid the pressure. His composure and maturity have been key to his success throughout his young collegiate career, especially against higher competition. Tiraspolsky racked up four wins on Saturday, each over #1 or #2 in the lineup. While his mental toughness was an advantage, his talent and execution proved to be the key to his victories.
“I don’t miss much when I play from the ground, and it also helps that I get big,” said Tiraspolsky. “In doubles we always like to attack the net and take points from there.”
While Wurtzman said he’s still working to complete the rankings within the team, sophomore Tiraspolsky is almost certain he’ll be playing at or near the top for the rest of the season.
Indiana will face Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday.