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Women’s tennis seeks revenge against Badgers

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | APRIL 23, 2009 7:29 AM

The Iowa women’s tennis team got what it wished for.

Exactly 12 days ago, the Hawkeyes lost to Wisconsin by a point at home, 4-3. After falling behind 3-1, the Hawks never quit, but they were devastated when they failed to pull off the comeback.

However, the Hawkeyes (7-14, 2-8) have been given the gift of a second chance: They will face the Badgers (8-14, 3-7) at the Big Ten championships beginning at 3 p.m., today in Madison, Wis.
Feeling like they owe Wisconsin a loss, the Hawkeyes want payback.

“I’m looking forward to beating Wisconsin this time,” freshman Sonja Molnar said. “We were really close last time. I think this time, we’re all more motivated to win.”

Iowa is the 10th seed in the tournament, and Wisconsin is the seventh. The Hawkeyes finished tied with Penn State for ninth place in the Big Ten regular season but received the lower seed because of a head-to-head loss to the Nittany Lions on March 29.

The winner of the Iowa-Wisconsin match will play second-seeded Michigan on Friday. When asked if the team has what it takes to make a run in the tournament, head coach Daryl Greenan replied very quickly, nearly cutting off the question.

“One match at a time,” he said. “I think we’ve got a good shot at the Badgers, and we played Michigan well. I just hope they go out there and put it all out on the court, because it’s their last chance.”

Greenan doesn’t have to worry, say the players, because they know the significance of the situation.
“I think it’s all or nothing,” sophomore Jessica Young said. “It’s our last chance to prove ourselves. We had a rough year. It’s at their home, so it would be a big win for us because the crowd will definitely be behind them. Hopefully, we can put it all together.”

The key to putting it together for the Hawks will be the three doubles matches; they won only one against the Badgers on April 11. The Hawkeyes went 1-9 in Big Ten doubles points, beating only Indiana. Greenan made some adjustments for the Wisconsin dual hoping to provide a lift.

“The doubles lineups are in, so there’s nothing to hide there,” he said. “We switched our doubles around completely, basically with the mentality of ‘Well, we’ve got nothing to lose.’ Maybe that will be a spark. “If we start off getting the doubles point, that could make the difference.”

Greenan shifted both his singles and doubles lineups early in the season but kept the same rotation for the majority of conference play. Young will play with junior Kelcie Klockenga at No. 2, and sophomore Alexis Dorr will team up with freshman Ally Majercik at No. 3. Molnar, who will play doubles with sophomore Lynne Poggensee-Wei at No. 1, thinks one thing will be critical for the new doubles pair.

“I think it will just be communication, because we haven’t played together before,” she said. “It will be different just because of the different personalities, just like it’s going to be with anybody who is new together.”

The Hawkeyes started out 2-0 in the Big Ten, but they have lost eight straight meets heading into the tournament. As the team piled into a van at the Karro Athletics Hall of Fame on Wednesday, no one seemed down about the losing streak. Greenan was optimistic about settling the score with the Badgers.

“It’s been a disappointing finish,” he said. “I wouldn’t say anybody threw in the towel, but we just couldn’t get it going to get that extra match we needed to get the wins. Wisconsin was a perfect example. We lost 4-3 and had chances to win it.

“We’re hoping to start with a little revenge over the host.”


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