Women’s tennis set to host Marquette, Iowa State

BY JON FRANK | FEBRUARY 19, 2010 7:30 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team is looking to extend three-game winning streak over the weekend.

The Hawkeyes will host Marquette at 4 p.m. today in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreational Complex, followed by a meet against Iowa State at 11 a.m. Feb. 21.

Marquette (7-3) is coming off a two-win weekend against Illinois State and Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Coached by 25-year veteran Jordy Bronson, the Golden Eagles will try to keep their streak alive, while ending the Hawkeyes’ — especially after last, season when Iowa defeated Marquette in Milwaukee.

Riding momentum from the two road victories last weekend over the Kansas State and Kansas, the Hawkeyes wasted no time resting. Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty turned up the intensity in practice to prepare the team for a weekend that might test their mental toughness as well as their physical endurance.

“Before [this week], we had more time to prepare for our matches because this is a full weekend with little rest,” Dougherty said. “We have to be prepared to compete and maintain a high level of energy.”

During practice, the squad implemented strategies intended to help fight fatigue. Music blared inside a raucous tennis complex as players prepared to combat mental distractions and maintain focus.

Following practice on Thursday, the team members said they felt confident about going into the jam-packed weekend.

“It’s a lot easier to practice after a big win,” junior Jessica Young said. “We were able to identify our high and low points from last week and use that to prepare for the upcoming meets.”

Dougherty had organized drills meant to identify and exploit their opponents’ weaknesses, Young said. Confidence in the team’s chance of winning has resulted in better group cohesion.

During the road trip in Kansas, the Hawkeyes managed to dominate, shutting out Kansas State, 7-0, and easily handing Kansas a 6-1 defeat afterwards.

The victory over the Jayhawks included a convincing victory by Iowa’s No. 1 singles player, Sonja Molnar, who beat the Kansas’ Ekaterina Morozova. Junior Alexis Dorr also tallied an impressive win to remain unbeaten this season.

Iowa may need all the confidence and team unity it can muster this weekend as well. Both the Hawkeyes’ upcoming opponents are above .500 teams with tough victories on their résumés.

“[Marquette is] a great team,” Dougherty said “They compete well. And Iowa State has gotten a lot better in the past few years.”

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