April 17, 2014
The University of Iowa men's tennis team concludes the regular season on the road, as the Hawkeyes travel to No. 1 Ohio State and No. 22 Penn State for a pair of conference matches. The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will play Friday, with a 6 p.m. (ET) start time. Following the match, Iowa will travel to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions. First serve for the match on Sunday is scheduled for noon (ET).
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Fans can follow along all season to the Hawkeyes and receive live match updates on Facebook (facebook.com/IowaMensTennis) or on Twitter (@IowaMensTennis).
HAWKEYES FALL ON SENIOR DAY
Sunday marked the final home match of the season for the Hawkeyes, as they hosted the No. 34 Northwestern Wildcats in conference action. During the break between doubles and singles six seniors, Brian Alden, Jonas Dierckx, Juan Estenssoro, Michael Swank, Chase Tomlins, and Joey White were honored for their contributions to the tennis team and the University of Iowa.
In singles action, Dierckx ended his home career on top, as he knocked off the No. 54 singles player, Raleigh Smith, at No. 1 singles. Dierckx was up 1-0 in the third and final set when Smith was forced to retire due to a bicep injury. Dierckx will end his Hawkeye career with over 100 wins to his name.
Junior Matt Hagan continued his winning ways, as he picked up a straight sets victory at No. 4 singles, 7-6 (7-0), 6-3.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Ohio State enters as the top team in the nation, currently ranked No. 1 by the ITA weekly rankings. The Buckeyes are 25-3, including a perfect 9-0 mark in conference play. They currently hold a share of the regular season conference title, and with one win in their final two matches will secure the regular season title outright. The conference title is the ninth-consecutive championship and 13th overall for the program. Ohio State has won 91 consecutive matches in league play, dating back to 2006.
Peter Kobelt, the lone senior on the Buckeye squad, is the seventh ranked singles player in the nation, while Herkko Pollanen (93rd) and Hunter Callahan (110) are also ranked in singles. Kobelt and Kevin Metka team up for the third-ranked doubles team.
Penn State (19-4, 6-3), currently sitting in fourth place in the conference, are ranked 22nd in the nation. The Nittany Lions dropped a pair of conference matches last week, falling to Purdue 6-1, and Indiana 4-2.
Leonard Stakhovsky is the lone Nittany Lion ranked in the ITA singles rankings, as he currently sits at No. 33. Stakhovsky and Russell Bader team up to comprise the 36th-ranked doubles team.
Sunday will mark the final home match for Penn State, and the team will honor Bader and Chris Young in their final home match.
Iowa's nine wins tops the team's win total from a year ago, when the Hawkeyes finished 7-17. Senior Jonas Dierckx and sophomore Dominic Patrick are leading the attack in singles action. Dierckx (12-9) has paced the team from the top of the lineup, while Patrick (14-6) leads the team in victories after starting the season winning 10 of his first 11 matches.
Four different Hawkeyes have recorded double-digit victories this season in either singles or doubles, with one individual reaching the 10-win mark in both events. Patrick (14 wins) and Dierckx (12 wins) have hit the mark in singles action while Joey White (12 wins) has performed in doubles. Matt Hagan is the lone Hawkeye to do so in both singles and doubles, recording 11 wins in each.
B1G IN THE RANKINGS
The Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in the nation, with nine teams ranked in ITA polls. Ohio State (1) leads all league teams in the rankings and is joined by Illinois (10), Penn State (22), Purdue (28), Northwestern (35), Michigan (49), Minnesota (51), Indiana (59), and Nebraska (63).
FRESHMAN SHINES IN DEBUT
Making his college dual debut, freshman Nils Hallestrand delivered, posting two singles and two doubles wins to help the Hawkeyes sweep Illinois State and Western Illinois. He won a pair of doubles matches in the No. 3 spot with teammate Joey White, while also picking up victories in the No. 5 and No. 6 singles spot. This spring, Hallestrand is 5-2 in singles play and 5-1 in doubles.
NEW ASSISTANT COACH Ross Wilson
Ross Wilson is in his first year as an assistant coach after serving last season as an assistant coach at San Diego. Wilson was named the 2012 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year and ITA Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011 after he helped guide San Diego to a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Wilson was a two-time NCAA All-American and three-time ITA national doubles champion during his playing days at Ohio State.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Hawkeyes will travel to East Lansing for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, hosted by Michigan State. Play will begin Thursday, with times and opponents TBD after this weekend.