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Women’s tennis hungry for win against Ohio State

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

A new mantra was swirling as the Iowa women’s tennis team practiced early Wednesday morning to prepare for its dual meet with Ohio State at 3 p.m. today.

“Buckeyes for breakfast” was the slogan of the day, invented by junior Jen Barnes.

The Hawkeyes (7-7, 2-1), ranked No. 63 in this week’s poll, aim to improve in the rankings and build on their Big Ten record by defeating the No. 41 Buckeyes this afternoon, as well as the Penn State Nittany Lions at 11 a.m. on March 29, both at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

However, after the light hour-and-a-half practice, the focus shifted from preparing on the court to taking precaution in the training room.

“The Michigan weekend took a lot out of us,” head coach Daryl Greenan said. “We had a couple of new minor injuries that added to our [existing] list. All of a sudden, more than half our lineup is in the training room. We’re watching out for things. I don’t think there’s anything major.”



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Five of the eight players on the roster are nicked up, with the most common areas with ailments being shoulders, abdominals, and ankles. The soreness is a product of completing two-thirds of a taxing practice and dual-meet schedule, but the Hawkeyes aren’t particularly worried — many other teams are facing the same thing.

“It get likes this at this point in the season because bodies start to wear out,” junior Kelcie Klockenga said. “It’s not just our team. A lot of the other tennis teams at Big Ten schools have lots of injuries.”

But the injuries have the potential to bother Iowa more than other teams, because it has fewer players. Most teams, including Penn State, carry 10.

Sophomore Jessica Young seemed to agree, then quickly shot down this theory.

“It’s hard when our team is so small,” she said. “Other teams have spare people, but we don’t have any at this point in time. But a lot of us have been injured many times before, so we’re used to playing through injuries. We can handle it; we’ll be fine.”

The team was given three full days off during spring break, then was back to practice to get ready for the road trip to Michigan State and Michigan last weekend, which the Hawkeyes split. Iowa avenged a 4-3 loss to the Spartans last year with a 4-3 win but went down, 6-1, to the No. 16 Wolverines.

“We played Michigan tough. I think what we’ve got to take from that is not be happy with just playing a top-25 team tough,” Greenan said. “We’ve got to realize that we have a legitimate shot at beating those teams, and try to get it done, and not be satisfied with a good match.”

He has toned down practice a little this week and has provided more time for stretching and warming up to prevent further injuries. But there’s not much else he can do, he said, because injuries are a part of the game that he can’t really control.

“This is the time of the year that the grind of the season is starting to take its toll on a lot of teams,” he said. “I think only if you’re lucky you have everybody healthy during this time of the year. We’ve been a little bit unlucky I think.”

The Hawkeyes are hoping to be lucky, and healthy, enough to take down the Buckeyes for breakfast. They also hope to save some room to finish off the Nittany Lions for dessert.


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