Women’s tennis upsets DePaul

BY JON FRANK | MARCH 08, 2010 7:30 AM

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Silence loomed over in the upper-level balcony as all eyes were glued to a game-deciding showdown between the top players for both Iowa and No. 24 DePaul. For each point scored, cheers erupted from fellow team members, coaches, and fans.

In the end, Hawkeye sophomore Sonja Molnar triumphed over DePaul senior Anna Redecsi, and the Hawkeyes upset the Blue Demons on Sunday, 4-3, in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

The match started with a 6-4 victory for Molnar in the first set. But Redecsi didn’t give up.

For the next 30 minutes, the two jockeyed for advantage in the second set. In the end, Molnar, tired but still fighting, was able to pull out the second set in a tie-breaker (7-6 [7-5]).

She credits her success largely to the pressure placed on her to win.

“I was tired, the match was long.” she said. “I wouldn’t have competed as well if the match didn’t count for so much. I had to step it up and take one for the team.”

The rest of the team also competed in close matches.

Junior Lynne Poggensee-Wei’s match was decided in the third set. She won the first set, 6-4, against junior Selma Salkovic, but fell in the second and third sets, 6-2 and 6-3.

Poggensee-Wei had a difficult weekend in singles play, losing her matches against DePaul and Missouri, which Iowa defeated, 5-2, on March 6. Her loss to Salkovic tied the series at 3-3.

The Hawkeyes split singles play 3-3 with wins from junior Alexis Dorr (6-3, 6-2) and senior Merel Beelen (6-3, 6-3). Dorr’s victory improves her singles play record to 8-1 this season.

One of the few advantages for Iowa came at the beginning of the match in doubles play.

On paper, the Blue Demons seemed to have the advantage. Their No. 1 duo of Redecsi and Salkovic were ranked 10th nationally prior to the meet. Molnar and Beelen refused to let their opponents’ reputation intimidate them.

The 9-7 win over Redecsi and Salkovic was Molnar and Beelen’s second doubles victory over a ranked opponent. The first came on Feb. 27 over Princeton’s then-No. 26-ranked Hilary Bartlett and Taylor Marable.

“We didn’t find out they were ranked until a few minutes before the match,” Molnar said. “It made us more motivated. Any time you get to play a top-ranked team, it’s a great opportunity.”

Junior Jessica Young and senior Kelcie Klockenga won their doubles match 8-8, 8-6, as did Poggensee-Wei and Dorr, 9-7.

“[Winning doubles] was very important,” Poggensee-Wei said. “We ended up splitting singles, so that determined the match.”

Aside from Iowa’s strong doubles play against DePaul, the win against an inferior Missouri team may have played an important role in the success on Sunday.

Although Iowa was heavily favored over Missouri (2-6), the Tigers fought hard, forcing the Hawkeyes to work hard for every point scored.

“We looked at the Missouri game, and we knew we had to raise our level of play,” Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty said. “We needed better execution and higher energy to win against DePaul.”

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