Hawkeyes Host Redbirds in Home Opener - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
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Hawkeyes Host Redbirds in Home Opener
Iowa faces Illinois State (1-1) on Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT)
Senior Sonja Molnar has won 84 career singles matches.
Senior Sonja Molnar has won 84 career singles matches.
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Feb. 1, 2012


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THIS WEEK:
The University of Iowa women's tennis team opens its season Saturday against Illinois State. The Hawkeyes host the Redbirds at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex at 11 a.m. (CT). Iowa is 1-1 in season openers under head coach Katie Dougherty. Live scoring will be available on the women's tennis schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.

QUOTING HEAD COACH Katie Dougherty:
"We're excited to start the season Saturday. The team has been putting in a lot of hard work and is looking forward to the payoff of competing. Illinois State is a good team. We'll need to start strong and compete well."

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE:
The Redbirds are 1-1 this season. They fell at No. 69 Illinois in the season opener Jan. 12 before topping IUPUI, 6-1, on Jan. 29. The Redbirds returned all nine players from a 2010-11 team that posted a 9-13 (5-5 MVC) dual record and placed second at the 2011 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Illinois State is led by seniors Hannah Esker and Aniko Kiss. Esker led Illinois State with 20 singles wins a season ago, while Kiss went 10-0 this fall and is 11-1 overall this season.

HAWKEYES VS. REDBIRDS SERIES HISTORY:
Iowa is 8-0 all-time against Illinois State. The Hawkeyes and Redbirds last met on Jan. 30, 1999. Iowa swept the match, 9-0.

HAWKEYES AT HOME UNDER DOUGHERTY:
The Hawkeyes have posted an 11-7 record at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, including a 1-1 record in home openers, under Dougherty. Iowa opened 2011 at home with a 5-2 win against Miami (Ohio) en route to a 3-4 home record at the HTRC. The Hawkeyes fell to Notre Dame, 6-1, in their 2010 home opener before going 8-3 on their home courts.

STREAK SITS AT 17:
The Hawkeyes have won 17 consecutive matches in which they have swept through the doubles point. Iowa last accomplished the feat April 15, 2011 against Michigan State. The Hawkeyes swept the doubles point five times in 2011.

OPPONENTS IN THE RANKINGS:
Ten Iowa opponents appeared in the ITA Division I team rankings on Jan. 24. Michigan (10), Northwestern (12), Norte Dame (21), Tulsa (22) and Oklahoma (25) were all tabbed in the top 25 of the 125 team poll. The Hawkeyes faced nine ranked opponents in 2011.

ITA RANKS MOLNAR:
Senior Sonja Molnar was ranked No. 91 player by the ITA on Jan. 3. The Guelph, Ontario, native was one of 11 Big Ten athletes to appear in the poll. Molnar was tabbed No. 65 in the ITA preseason poll after finishing her junior season ranked No. 95 nationally.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING:
Sonja Molnar opens the Hawkeyes' dual match schedule with 84 career singles wins, 16 away from becoming the third Hawkeye in program history to reach 100 career wins. The three-time unanimous All-Big Ten selection would join Milica Veselinovic (113 wins) and Laura Dvorak (102 wins). Molnar has averaged 17 wins per season during dual matches over her career.

BETTER WITH AGE:
Senior Ally Majercik beat Michigan State's Katarina Lingl, 7-5, 6-1, at the Wildcat Invitational on Oct. 2 to earn her fifth win of the fall season, setting a new career-high for wins during the fall season. The Overland Park, Kan., native won three fall matches as a freshman (2008), two as a sophomore (2009) and four as a junior (2010). Majercik has been an Academic All-Big Ten selection the past two seasons.

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