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Women’s tennis stays positive despite losses

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | APRIL 10, 2009 7:30 AM

Don’t tell the Iowa women’s tennis team that it’s in eighth place in the Big Ten, that it’s riding a five-meet losing streak, or that it dropped out of the top 75 rankings, because it refuses to quit on the season.

“I think we’re a top-75 team,” head coach Daryl Greenan said. “Our schedule hasn’t allowed us to prove that, but we just have to finish strong and not worry where we are in the rankings.”

The Hawkeyes (7-11, 2-5) are not panicking or approaching things any differently as they host polar opposites in the Big Ten standings. Iowa will face Wisconsin Saturday and No. 1 Northwestern on April 12, both at 11 a.m. at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

“We talk about getting better every week,” Greenan said. “We try to focus on that not winning and losing. We try to look forward regardless and stay in the moment and not the past. The women are in pretty good spirits; the losses aren’t getting them down.”

The mood was light during the team’s morning practice Wednesday. Greenan huddled everyone to talk about the situation. They briefly acknowledged the slump and then moved on, putting it to rest.



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“It’s a slump as far as losses go, but not as playing and competing,” Greenan said. “We’re playing and competing pretty well. On paper, it’s just one bad loss. We missed out on some big opportunities, but we can’t let that bother us. We got to go get the next one.”

Other than falling to Penn State at home by a point, none of the Hawkeyes’ losses during the skid were terrible. Two were by one point, three were on the road, and all five opponents are currently in the top six of the Big Ten standings.

These results have kept the squad optimistic.

“I think we’re staying really positive,” freshman Ally Majercik said. “Even though we’re losing, the way we’re playing is really encouraging. Every loss makes us more motivated to get the next one. “It helps that we’re a really close team. We’re all really good friends, so that makes it easy for us to encourage each other and stay positive. We just need to play our game and be really confident.”

Next up for the Hawkeyes is their best chance to break the streak. The Badgers come in stumbling at 5-13 overall and sitting in last place in the conference at 0-6. Iowa also wants to avenge last year’s loss to Wisconsin. It’s certainly going to be tougher on April 12 to take down the talented Wildcats, who own a 34-2 all-time record against Iowa.

Northwestern (17-1, 6-0) has four players nationally ranked, including No. 2 sophomore Maria Mosolova, a three-time Big Ten Player of the Week this spring. This challenge goes to freshman Sonja Molnar, who is ranked No. 87 at 15-3 in singles. Both players have beaten the same opponents with similar scores. They both played a common opponent in No. 35 Kelcy Tefft of Notre Dame; Molnar lost (6-4, 7-5), and Mosolova won (6-3, 6-6 [7-2]).

Molnar is confident that she and her team will give the top-ranked Wildcats a run for their money.
“It should be close from our records,” Molnar said about Mosolova. “I’m just going to try; that’s all I can do.

“Talking to the team, a lot of us think there’s not that much of a difference between them and us. Hopefully, we’ll have a good mindset and, hopefully, pull out the win.”

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