The No. 38 Indiana University men’s tennis team lost a heart-breaker on Saturday to the No. 29 Vanderbilt Commodores by a 4-3 score on the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford.
The disappointing result ended the Hoosiers' hopes of continuing their run in the NCAA tournament regional.
After sweeping the doubles competition and earning the match’s first point, the Hoosiers only managed to steal two points in six singles matches.
With the score even after five singles matches had been completed, the outcome came down to the No. 3 singles duel between Phillip Eilers and Vanderbilt’s Vijay Paul. After dropping the first set 7-6, Eilers fought back to win the second 6-4, only to lose in extra sets 7-6 (7).
The loss moved the Hoosiers' record to 16-10 overall. It was their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2001, and the first appearance for first year head coach Randy Bloemendaal.
The No. 2 singles match finished first, as senior Dara McLoughlin lost a straight-set match 6-3, 6-1. Freshman Lachlan Ferguson also went down in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Shortly thereafter, senior Michael McCarthy evened the score in his three-set overtime thriller. The first two sets were decisive; Vanderbilt’s Alex Zotov took the second set 6-1 after McCarthy blew him away 6-1 in the first. Set three required overtime, but in the end McCarthy pulled away with a 7-6(4) victory.
McCarthy sparked some momentum with his rousing victory, as fellow senior Thomas Richter downed No. 53 Ryan Preston in a similar three-set overtime match.
Richter’s hard-fought victory gave the Hoosiers a 3-2 lead with two singles matches to go.
Unfortunately for IU, neither freshman Eilers nor Santiago Gruter were able to pull out a victory as they both fell in three sets, giving the Commodores a 4-3 win.
The match lasted a total of four hours and 53 minutes.