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Women’s tennis wants rebound

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | FEBRUARY 27, 2009 7:30 AM

The latest rankings of top-75 women’s tennis teams did not include the Iowa Hawkeyes for the first time this spring. Iowa (5-5) was ranked No. 58 last weekend, but after splitting dual meets against DePaul and Kansas found itself off Monday’s updated list.

The Hawkeyes were tied at No. 75 with two other teams but got pushed back when a team jumped them. Head coach Daryl Greenan estimates his team is sitting at No. 76, ready to prove it deserves back in. The team set a goal of getting inside the top 40.

Iowa certainly has a chance to ascend the rankings as it opens up the Big Ten portion of its season Sunday morning at home against Minnesota (6-3).

Nine of the Hawkeyes’ remaining 11 opponents are ranked, and Greenan thinks this is a golden opportunity for his team to pick up some quality wins.

“We need to have confidence down the stretch and take advantage of our opportunities,” he said. “To get to 40, we will have to beat some good, ranked teams.

“For us to come out of this schedule with a winning record would be a huge accomplishment. That’s what we’re shooting for, and that’s what I think we’re capable of.”



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Since becoming Iowa’s coach, Greenan is 4-0 against the Golden Gophers, including a 6-1 victory in Minneapolis last spring. However, this will also be the first time during Greenan’s tenure the Hawkeyes will enter a dual meet against Minnesota as underdogs — the Golden Gophers come in ranked 52nd nationally.

Iowa looks at the Big Ten season as a fresh start. The coaching staff knows that the women get more motivated for conference matches, and the players know how crucial the conference season is to their chance at postseason play.

“It’s our most important season,” Iowa sophomore Jessica Young said. “All of our matches working up to this, and all of the training we’ve had was for this purpose. These are the matches that mean the most to us, so hopefully, we can start off on the right foot.

“The most important thing is for everyone to show up. We need everyone to show up with everything so we can take out all the Big Ten teams, hopefully.”

Iowa didn’t get off to the kind of start it was hoping for, but the Hawkeyes aren’t dwelling on past losses or being unranked.

“If you look at it on paper, our only losses are to tournament teams,” Young said. “We haven’t had any technically bad losses. We’re not freaking out; we should get back into the rankings after this weekend.”

Iowa assistant coach Mira Radu agrees with Young 100 percent.

“It’s still early in the season,” she said. “We’re not worried about it; the rankings kind of come and go. I have total confidence that we are going to climb up there again.”

Although the early portion of the Hawkeyes’ season has been up-and-down, there is one thing that has been consistent for Iowa — having fun.

“We’re having a great time,” Radu said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the Big Ten season. We’ve been having fun so far, and I think we’re going to keep it up.”

Ideally, Greenan would have liked a stronger start before Big Ten play.

“It would’ve been nice to come in with a winning record,” Greenan said. “But we take it one day at a time, one point at a time, even.”


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