Men’s tennis loses to Denver

BY SETH ROBERTS | MARCH 09, 2010 7:30 AM

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Even the toughest loss can hold a positive aspect for a team.

The No. 49 Iowa men’s tennis team (6-3) dropped its second-consecutive meet on Sunday, falling to No. 32 Denver, 6-1, in Denver. Although the Hawkeyes lost all six of their singles matches, they won the doubles point thanks in part to the seventh-consecutive doubles victory by sophomore Will Vasos and senior Tommy McGeorge.

Vasos and McGeorge — playing at the No. 1 doubles spot for the first time this season — defeated Yannick Weihs and Jens Vorkefeld, 8-5.

“[The win streak] isn’t really surprising at all,” Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said. “Will and Tommy won 12 matches in a row last year, so it’s almost old business for them.”

Vasos said he attributes the team’s continuing success to his rapport with his teammate.

“It’s kind of like last year,” he said. “Tommy and I have good chemistry, and we both hit good returns, so we kind of feed off of each other.”

Iowa sophomore Marc Bruche combined with sophomore Tom Mroziewicz for the first time this season to defeat Andrew Landwerlen and Fabio Biasion at the No. 2 position, 8-6. The No. 3 team of senior Reinoud Haal and junior Austen Kauss, also paired together for the first time, fell to Denver’s David Simson and Enej Bonin, 8-4.

The Hawkeyes could not maintain their momentum, losing six-consecutive singles matches. No. 6 Mroziewicz fell first, losing to Landwerlen (6-0, 6-1). No. 1 Bruche became violently ill during his match against Weihs and was forced to retire early in his third set. He was taken to a Denver medical center to receive an IV, but he said he is feeling better after receiving medication.

“I was playing well even though I was sick, but after a while I couldn’t focus because I had lost so much liquid,” Bruche said. “I talked to my assistant coach [Steve Nash], and we decided it didn’t make sense to force anything.”

Iowa continued to struggle after Bruche’s exit. Junior Nikita Zotov lost to Simson in the No. 2 slot (6-2, 6-3), and No. 4 Vasos was defeated by Biasion (6-4, 6-3). No. 3 Haal lost to Bonin (6-3, 6-4), and No. 5 McGeorge fell to Vorkefeld in a third-set tiebreaker (4-6, 6-4, 10-4).

Haal’s defeat to Bonin was his first singles loss since Iowa’s first meet of the season, snapping a seven-match win streak.

“I think the key thing is that I learn from the loss,” he said. “I played a guy who played well, while I definitely didn’t play my best tennis, but hopefully, I can learn and start another win streak soon.”

The Hawkeyes’ loss to Denver was their second loss in a row, marking the first time this season that the team has dropped consecutive meets. Iowa was upset by unranked Sacramento State, 4-3, on March 6 in Denver.

Iowa lost the doubles point despite a win by Vasos and McGeorge. Iowa salvaged a split in singles play, but a pair of narrow losses for Bruche and Vasos gave the Hornets (6-6) the victory.

“We knew going in that they are better than they look on paper,” Vasos said. “We’re looking at it not as a negative loss. We have to take positives from it; we played well but didn’t come out on top.”

The Hawkeyes will spend the week conditioning before embarking on their annual spring trip, when they will play three teams in Nevada and California.

“I think we’re pretty well-conditioned, but we’re going to crank it up since we have time to work,” Houghton said. “At this point, everything points to being ready for Big Ten play.”

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