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Freshman tennis player takes down No. 50

BY NICK SZAFRANSKI | APRIL 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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In her first career opportunity against a ranked opponent, Hawkeye Christina Harazin emerged victorious.

The women’s tennis freshman knocked off Northwestern’s 50th-ranked Brittany Wowchuk on April 9 in three sets (7-5, 6-1, 1-0).

Playing in the team’s No. 4 singles spot — she was moved up from No. 5 because of the absence of Lynne Poggensee-Wei, who was taking an exam — Harazin knew she would face a tough opponent.

“I was just going to give it my all,” Harazin said. “I had nothing to lose, and she had everything to lose. I would be happy with whatever the outcome was.”

Playing at Northwestern’s Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill., the Indian Head Park, Ill., native started the match well by taking the first set, 7-5.

The result was not the same in the second set.

“In the second set, I wasn’t winning the right points,” Harazin said. “We both were hitting the ball and striking well — the score just wasn’t going my way.”

In an abrupt turn of events, she was in a struggle. She lost the second set, 6-1.

“Going into the tiebreaker, I knew I just really wanted to win this match,” she said. “I just wanted it more than her.

“I wanted to start over new [after the second set], so I started off playing solid and played my shots. I had a lot of confidence.”

In the third and final set, Harazin defeated Wowchuk, 1-0.

“I know Tina was very disappointed after the outcome the day before,” head coach Katie Dougherty said. (Harazin had fallen in two sets to Illinois’ Misia Kedzierski on April 8). “Brittany [Wowchuk] is a good ball striker, she hits a harder ball than Tina has seen all year, and Tina responded well.

“[Tina] was moving great and competed well.”

With the upset victory over Wowchuk, Harazin brought her season singles record to an even 7-7.
Since coming to Iowa in August, she has worked on improving her game for matches such as the one against Northwestern.

“I have improved a lot,” Harazin said. “Coach has helped me bring my game to the next level. Hitting with the girls has helped a lot, too. The little things such as extra conditioning, and extra hitting have helped so much. My serve and my forehand have improved a lot. My backhand has always been my stronger shot, but I think even that has gotten better.”

The seven-woman Iowa squad will lose three seniors to graduation and will return only three starters in the fall. Harazin — the team’s only freshman — will be elevated into a more substantial role.

“The level of her play will only go up,” senior Alexis Dorr said. “She is a great competitor and is a hard worker. The hard work will pay off for her; she is going to be a great player. Tina will excel.”


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