April 13, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Six seniors were honored Sunday, as the University of Iowa men's tennis team concluded its home schedule. The Hawkeyes, hosting the 34th-ranked Northwestern Wildcats, fought until the end, but were ultimately defeated by a final score of 5-2.
"They are a great bunch of guys. This group has been really good as student-athletes and as leaders," said UI head coach Steve Houghton. "Some of them are vocal leaders, some are leaders by example. They are the best group of leaders that I have had in a long time."
The match began with another closely contested doubles point. The duo of Raleigh Smith and Mihir Kumar of Northwestern, the 23rd-ranked doubles team in the country, got Northwestern started with an 8-2 victory at No. 1. Iowa responded shortly after with an 8-4 victory by senior Jonas Dierckx and junior Matt Hagan at No. 2. With the doubles point coming down to the third match, the senior duo of Chase Tomlins and Joey White found themselves in a decisive tiebreaker. They were outlasted, as Northwestern secured the point with a 9-7 tiebreaker victory.
During the intermission between doubles and singles, six seniors were recognized for their contributions and efforts on and off the court over the course of their careers at Iowa. Seniors Brian Alden, Jonas Dierckx, Juan Estenssoro, Michael Swank, Chase Tomlins, and Joey White were each highlighted for their dedication and representation of the Hawkeyes.
"We were thinking about it being Senior Day and wanted to come out intense with it being our last match," said senior Jonas Dierckx. "We wanted to make the best out of it. You want to give it your all and we wanted to perform for the fans. We appreciate their support and that was important for us."
Once singles action resumed, the two teams traded the first two points, as Sam Shropshire collected a win at No. 2 singles over Alden, while Hagan picked up a 7-6 (7-0), 6-3 victory at No. 4. With Northwestern leading 3-1, the three courts remaining all saw three-set matches. Dierckx ended his home career with a win, as his opponent was forced to retire due to injury with Dierckx up 1-0 in the third set.
"I thought we played one of our better matches this year. We came up short but it was to a team with a lot of good wins nationally," added Houghton. "I was proud of our effort. I'm proud of Jonas to pick up two wins against a really good team. Hagan is becoming a very good competitor and has been on a bit of a roll recently."
Iowa closes out the regular season with a pair of road matches. The Hawkeyes travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State, the No. 1 team in the nation. First serve is set of 6 p.m. (ET) Friday evening. Following the match, Iowa will continue east to take on 16th-ranked Penn State Sunday afternoon with a noon (ET) first serve.
#34 Northwestern 5, Iowa 2
1. No. 23 Smith/Kumar (NU) def. Alden/Swank (UI): 8-2
2. Dierckx/Hagan (UI) def. Zieba/Shropshire (NU): 8-4
3. Baev/Kirchheimer (NU) def. Tomlins/White (UI): 8-7 (9-7)
1. Jonas Dierckx (UI)def. No. 54 Raleigh Smith (NU): 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0, retire
2. No. 125 Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Brian Alden (UI): 6-3, 6-2
3. Konrad Zieba (NU) def. Juan Estenssoro (UI): 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
4. Matt Hagan (UI) def. Mihir Kumar (NU): 7-6 (7-0), 6-3
5. Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Dominic Patrick (UI): 6-4, 6-3
6. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Michael Swank (UI) 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,4,5,6,1,3)