After losing three consecutive 4-3 dual matches, the IU women’s tennis team bounced back with a 4-3 win against No. 66 DePaul and a 7-0 victory over UNC-Wilmington at the IU Tennis Center on Sunday.
The Hoosiers took an early lead against DePaul by winning the doubles point for their tenth time this season.
IU Coach Lin Loring said that winning the doubles point is very important in close matches because he said it is difficult to win four or more singles matches against any team.
“Pretty much all of the good teams these days are splitting singles three to three,” he said. “Even though the doubles is just one point, in all of these matches it is turning out to be a really important point.”
Indiana lost the doubles point in its previous two matches against Kentucky and Notre Dame, which put them in an early deficit in both dual matches. This time, it was Indiana who took the early lead and IU Coach Loring said that is was especially important for IU to win the doubles point because DePaul Coach Mark Ardizzone tried three new doubles combinations against the Hoosiers.
“We didn’t know what to expect in the doubles because he’s looking for answers in the doubles,” Loring said.
The Blue Demons took the No. 2 doubles match when Patricia Fargas/Kelsey Lawson blanked sophomores Katie Klyczek and Carolyn Chupa 8-0.
“I think his best team may have been at two,” IU Coach Loring said. “He didn’t do it on purpose but I think his two team played really well. We were never in that match.”
Indiana responded in the No. 3 match when sophomores Alecia Kauss and Shannon Murdy topped Zaina Sufi/Ana Vladutu 8-2.
IU won the doubles point after the Hoosiers’ No. 44 doubles team of senior Leslie Hureau and junior Sophie Garre defeated DePaul’s Matea Cutura/Jarret Fisher 8-5 in the No. 1 match.
“Winning the doubles point was huge and it helped us going into the singles and we were pretty confident,” Garre said.
She said that Indiana tried to play with as much energy as possible in the doubles matches.
“In singles, we started pretty well, especially in the first set one every court,” Garre said. “It helps when you watch the scoreboard and see that everybody is doing well in the first set.”
The Hoosiers extended their lead when Garre bested Fisher in the No. 5 singles match. In the final game, Fisher had a deuce advantage twice but Garre fought back. Ultimately, Garre’s forehand proved to be too strong for the DePaul freshman to handle and she won the match 6-0, 6-2.
Chupa followed in suit with a victory over Lawson in straight sets in the No. 4 match, which gave Indiana a 3-0 lead.
DePaul earned its first point of the match when Vladutu defeated Kauss 6-4, 6-1 in the No. 3 match.
In the No. 6 singles match, Murdy gained the advantage at deuce with a lob over the head of Sufi that fell just within the confines of the court. Other than the low hum of the IU Tennis Center’s heater and the sound of forehands and backhands being traded across the court, there was silence. It was the game, set and match point for a team that had fallen on the wrong end of three competitive 4-3 matches. Murdy held off an attempted comeback by Sufi and won the singles match 6-3, 6-4, which secured the win for Indiana. This time the Hoosiers were on the winning end of a 4-3 match.
“I told the girls after the first one that we’re going to have a whole bunch the rest of the year and sooner or later one will go our way,” IU Coach Loring said. “This is a match we could have lost because they’re a very good team. It was just nice to win a 4-3 match.”
IU Coach Loring said that the Hoosiers have played very good singles and doubles tennis as a team this season. He compared IU’s three consecutive 4-3 losses to a basketball team losing on a buzzer beater.
“If you lose on a three-pointer on the buzzer, you don’t have to re-invent your offense and defense,” he said. “We haven’t changed our doubles teams and we haven’t done a lot different because we’ve just been a little bit unlucky with the way some of those 4-3 matches fell. Literally, we’re probably 12 points away from being undefeated this season.”
After defeating DePaul, IU Coach Loring said that Indiana needed to come out with energy against UNC-Wilmington in order to win. He said that the Seahawks are very solid and that they lost 4-3 to William & Mary, who he said is always a top 50 team.
“They’ve struggled in some other matches but we know they’re good and if we just show up, it’s not going to be good enough,” he said. “If we play as well as we did in this first match, I don’t think that it will be really close. If we don’t play as well as we did in this match, they’re going to make us hit a lot of balls and they’re going to put a lot of balls back in the court. We’ve just got to be ready to stay out there longer than we want to stay out there.”
Garre said that it was a great feeling to win after suffering three close losses in the previous two weekends but she said that IU needed to focus on recovering for its match against UNC-Wilmington.
“We need to bring a lot of intensity,” she said. “We’re playing really well since the beginning of the season so we’re pretty confident with our game. We just need to stick with our game plan and we should be fine.”
And the Hoosiers did just that en route to their seventh 7-0 victory of the season.
In doubles, IU lost only six games in its three wins. Indiana followed up its strong start to the match by winning five singles matches in straight sets. Hureau defeated UNC-Wilmington’s Angie Sekely in the No. 1 position 6-7, 7-6, 11-9. In the No. 2 match, Klyczek topped Alyssa Ritchie 6-3, 6-2.
IU Coach Loring said that the Hoosiers had two good wins on Sunday.
“The UNCW match was a real gut check for us,” Loring said. “The whole team was coming off being sick this week and we used a lot of energy in our first match. We had to dig deep because they hit a lot of balls back. Many of the scores don’t indicate how long the points were.”