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Hawkeyes look for revenge in first round of Big Tens

BY NICK SZAFRANSKI | APRIL 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's tennis team will get a chance for some revenge today when it takes on Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

The No. 9 seeded Hawkeyes and No. 8 seeded Golden Gophers will face off for the second time in a week when the two squads collide at 9 a.m. in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Despite owning a 7-15 overall record, Minnesota took down the 6-15 Hawks (6-1) on Sunday in Minneapolis.

"We were fatigued," head coach Katie Dougherty said. "We played a long emotional match. We are down the next day, and we didn't do a good job at starting. We let a lead slip. It just wasn't a good day for us."

The players agreed with Dougherty, noting the April 23 loss to Wisconsin.

"We didn't let up, we never let up," senior Jessica Young said. "We didn't play our best tennis. We were mentally and physically exhausted, three of the girls had three-set matches the day before. It was just a long tedious day. Not every day you play well. It wasn't that we gave up or let down, it just didn't go well for us."

After the regular season, Iowa tied for the seventh seed with Indiana and Minnesota. However, the tiebreaker gave the Hoosiers with the seventh seed.

The victor between Iowa and Minnesota gets the opportunity to face the Big Ten's No. 1 overall seed, 10th-ranked Michigan, at 9 a.m. Friday.

The Wolverines (20-3, 10-0) defeated the Hawkeyes, 7-0, April 17.

"We don't have the best seed right now," freshman Christina Harazin said. "If we keep competing, we definitely can knock off some of the higher seeds."

Iowa had a very unfamiliar looking lineup against Minnesota on Sunday.

The No. 29-ranked doubles duo of Young and junior Sonja Molnar split up, dropping Young to the No. 2 spot to pair up with Harazin, and senior Lynne Poggensee-Wei teamed up with Molnar in the No. 1 spot as the nation's No. 71 duo. However, all three doubles teams lost, and No. 103 Molnar was the only player to pick up a single point.

Dougherty slid players up a slot in singles, with junior Ally Majercik appearing in the sixth spot because senior Alexis Dorr was out of the lineup.

"Alexis is a contributor to our team both on and off the court," Young said. "We are more confident going in with Alexis there. She is a senior and a great competitor, she will definitely help our lineup."

A year ago, the fourth-seeded Hawkeyes took down Indiana in the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual champions Michigan, 4-1. Three seniors are competing for potentially the final time in their collegiate careers this weekend — Young, Dorr, and Poggensee-Wei.

"Big Tens is motivation and a new slate," Young said. "We are forgetting about everything — wins and losses. We are just going to go in and give our best."


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