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Tough opposition for women’s tennis this weekend

BY NICK SZAFRANSKI | APRIL 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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Michigan State and No. 10 Michigan will come to Iowa City this weekend for the final two home matches of the Iowa women’s tennis team’s season.

The 5-12 (2-4 Big Ten) Hawkeyes will host the Spartans (12-9, 1-6) at 5 p.m. today and the Wolverines (17-3, 7-0) at 11 a.m. April 17. Both matches will be played at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

“Every team has its weakness and its own holes,” senior Alexis Dorr said. “This weekend, like any other weekend, our goal is to work hard and put all our effort in to our match. It is important to compete well, and I think we do that against any team, whether it is ranked high or low.”

With losses to Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the Spartans enter with a a four-match losing streak. The Hawkeyes own a March 27 win over Penn State, who knocked off Michigan State on Sunday, 4-3.

Last spring, Michigan State played the Hawkeyes in Iowa City, and Iowa won, 4-3.

“We are two different teams from last year,” head coach Katie Dougherty said. “It was a war last year, and it came down to Lynne [Poggensee-Wei] winning the deciding match.

“They are a well-coached, fiery team, and it will be a battle.”

Players, too, are expecting a tightly contested matchup.

“Michigan State is going to be a close match,” freshman Christina Harazin said. “[The Spartans] have been back and forth in the Big Ten; this match can pretty much go either way. It is basically who wants it more.”

This weekend will mark the final two home matches for three Iowa seniors. Poggensee-Wei, Dorr, and Jessica Young joined the Hawkeyes in 2007, considered the No. 7 recruiting class in the country.

The trio contributed to a 2010 NCAA Tournament appearance and 42 Hawkeye victories over the past four seasons.

“It will be an emotional experience after I finish my match this weekend for the last time at home,” Dorr said. “Then again, I’m always practicing there. A tennis court is a tennis court wherever you go.
“But it is Senior Day this weekend. Hopefully, I don’t cry, but it is very possible.”

The three seniors have a tough test ahead. The class of 2011 is looking for its first victory over Michigan, having gone 0-7 against the Wolverines.

Michigan is ranked No. 10 in the country and comes in to the April 17 match undefeated since losing at No. 4 North Carolina in mid-March.

The nation’s No. 9 singles player, Denise Muresan, headlines a Wolverine team that has three others ranked in the top 110. Michigan also has two doubles teams ranked, including the No. 9 duo in the country.

“We are playing a top team,” Dougherty said. “It is a great a way to close out your career.
“We are playing great tennis right now. I expect a great fight from the [three seniors].”


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