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Men's tennis takes Illinois State, Western Michigan

BY AMIE KIEHN | FEBRUARY 16, 2009 7:50 AM

The Iowa men’s tennis team knocked off both weekend opponents, 7-0, increasing the Hawkeyes’ record to 4-1. The wins against Illinois State and Western Michigan were anchored by the impressive play of junior Tommy McGeorge and freshman Will Vasos.

Start calling the No. 3 duo the “comeback kids.”

“They mix well together,” Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said. “It was kind of by accident that we discovered them back in the fall and put them together without a whole lot of thought. They were just really good and haven’t stop being good.”

Sunday’s match was no exception.

Down 4-1 against Western Michigan, McGeorge’s frustration was visible as he waited for the Broncos’ Pablo Olivarez to serve. But his smash return gave Iowa’s double pair a jolt of needed adrenaline, and McGeorge and Vasos won three-straight games to tie the set at 4.

Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, Western Michigan’s doubles play is a significant strength of the team, and the Broncos’ Kazuya Komada and Olivarez battled right back. The match was tied again at 7, and the teams played on in a tiebreaker.

“Today, [McGeorge and Vasos] were in really big trouble,” Houghton said. “They played a really good 3 team. In the tiebreaker, they were down 5-1, and they won six-straight points to win.

“So one thing they do real well is compete obviously. Apart from that, they both either have developed or have this impulse of being aggressive and move forward all the time. I think they both are fired-up type guys.”

Houghton’s team must be filled with fired-up players, because the Hawkeyes have opened up this season with momentum that they hope remains when they get into the difficult Big Ten schedule.

The Hawkeyes will face three ranked conference opponents this season — No. 1 Ohio State, No. 13 Illinois, and No. 18 Michigan. But right now, the team is enjoying the weekend sweep.

“We are feeling good,” McGeorge said. “We had a good performance. [Western Michigan] is a good team, so to beat it 7-0 is a confidence builder for us.

“Our next match is 10 days away, so we’ll use it as a building block for our next match.”

Houghton was also pleased with the win and Iowa’s outstanding doubles performance.

“I am particularly happy with doubles,” he said. “We’ve won the doubles point every time this year — probably three times we swept the doubles. Western Michigan prides itself on its doubles, and I am sure that probably took something out of it.”

Iowa’s next competition will be in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex on Feb. 25 against Drake.


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