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Men's tennis frosh off to hot start

BY RYAN MURPHY | SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 7:20 AM

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At the Iowa tennis team's first tournament of the fall season, the Hawkeyes received one of their top performances from one of their youngest members.

In the first event of his college career, freshman Matt Hagan showed why he could be one of the Black and Gold's top talents in the next four years.

The Omaha native won his first four matches, two individually and two with doubles partner Chase Tomlins. Hagan, who advanced to the Flight B Doubles finals with Tomlins, finished 5-2 at the Purdue Invitational on Sept. 16-18.

Hagan said it was a thrill to play in his very first event as a Hawkeye.

"It's really exciting to start off as a freshman and play right away," he said. "It's exciting to play at that high Division-I level."

Hagan, who chose the Hawkeyes over such Big Ten schools as Nebraska and Illinois, was a four-star recruit, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network. He earned several accolades during his high-school career, and he recorded an undefeated senior season and state championships in both singles and doubles at Creighton Prep High.

Hagan said he chose Iowa because of the atmosphere surrounding the team and the university.

"It was a great college town, the facilities were great, and the coaches were great," he said. "And so far, everything has been awesome."

Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said Hagan's skills were evident before the freshman ever played a match in the Black and Gold.

"We knew even before he got here that he was a quite capable player, and he certainly has the skills to be a great Division-I player," the coach said.

Houghton, who is in the midst of his 31st season as the program's head coach, expects Hagan to continue his success and boost the team's standing.

"Matt's got all kinds of talent," Houghton said. "He's certainly someone that can make contributions this year."

Once on campus, Hagan showed his prowess as a tennis player. The 6-6 freshman towers over most players on the court, and he uses that power to his advantage — especially with his dominant forehand.

Senior Will Vasos said Hagan's abilities have made an impression on the team in the first few weeks of the season.

"He's a really hard worker, and he has a lot of talent," Vasos said. "He really blasts his forehand, and hopefully, he just keeps growing as a player."

Vasos hopes Hagan will be able to be a big contributor for the Hawkeyes once the spring season rolls around.

Hagan said he just wants to do what he can to help the Hawkeyes.

"I just want to show up for my team and represent Iowa well," he said.


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