Women’s tennis back home to compete against DePaul, Kansas


The Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex has never seemed more cozy to the Iowa women’s tennis team than it will when the squad faces DePaul at 3 p.m. today and Kansas on Feb. 22.
After three long weekends of road competition in which the team traveled from Texas to Wisconsin to Alabama and Mississippi, the Hawkeyes are happy to be home.

“It’s a relief just to play at home and not be traveling again,” sophomore Alexis Dorr said. “It’s so good; it’s great.”

Iowa went 2-4 during the stretch, and head coach Daryl Greenan echoes his players’ feelings about being back in Iowa City.

“It has been quite a grind traveling the past three weekends, and a few matches at home will be nice,” he said.

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The Hawkeyes (4-4) are back to their normal routine. Now that they are home, they are able to reflect on the trips and evaluate where they stand.

“It was difficult to know what to expect coming into this season,” Greenan said. “Being 4-4 after the schedule we have played is pretty good with such a young team.”

Only one upperclassman, junior Kelcie Klockenga, has competed in Greenan’s top-six lineup this spring. Five freshmen and sophomores are in the rotation, including the first three singles spots.

Sophomore Jessica Young thinks the team gained valuable experience during the road trips, even though it was not as successful as it would have liked.

“I think we expected to do better,” she said. “We had some tough losses, but they were to good teams, eventually probably tournament teams.”

The Hawkeyes have a goal of making the NCAA Tournament themselves, along with cracking the top 40 in the team rankings and finishing in the top four of the competitive Big Ten. Iowa has missed the postseason the last two years.

“We want to make the NCAAs,” Young said. “However we do that, whether it’s the Big Ten Tournament or rankings or whatever, that’s what we want to do. We really have to go in with confidence and play our game.”

Currently ranked at No. 58, several players, including Dorr and Young, are tweaking aspects of their games to become more versatile.

“We really have to improve our games and get momentum going into the Big Ten season,” Dorr said. “I think we will do very well.”

Greenan is more focused on his Hawkeyes than their opponents, but he knows the Blue Demons and Jayhawks will provide a good measure of where the team is at in its development.

“The team is working hard,” he said. “Win or lose, they have been getting better each week. The important thing is that the coaches are seeing progress.

“DePaul and Kansas are always very competitive. We are going to have to play some good tennis to go 2-0 this weekend.”

His expectation is that the team gets better every single day. He knows his team has the talent, and it’s up to the players to put it all together to get above .500 on the season.

“We just need to keep looking for ways to improve and prepare for the next eight matches and the rest of the season,” Greenan said. “A good showing this weekend could move us closer to achieving our goals.”

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