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Hawkeye tennis seniors make national impact

BY RYAN MURPHY | OCTOBER 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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Iowa seniors Marc Bruche and Will Vasos have used their matches in two fall events to have a national impact against some of the country's strongest players.

Vasos and Bruche, who are ranked No. 41 nationally in doubles, put together winning streaks in both singles and doubles at the Baylor Invitational and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships.

The duo shook off a combined 2-4 record in singles play at Baylor to advance to the tournament's championship doubles match, then fell to the nation's No. 23 team.

The duo's success switched to singles at the All-American. The two seniors lost their only doubles match, but then combined to win eight matches in Tulsa — five from Vasos and three from Bruche — in the first national championship of the college-tennis season. The Hawkeyes placed two players in the qualifying stage, and Bruche became the first player in school history to reach the tournament's main draw.

Bruche said both players have improved by spending time together on the road.

"We've both benefited from staying together and traveling together," said the native of Hölsbrunn, Germany. "We had more time to focus on singles in practice, so our doubles wasn't as good as we hoped."

Iowa head coach Steve Houghton attributed much of Vasos' and Bruche's success to the players' focus and desire to play well in their final season.

"You never know with seniors, but they really wanted to take advantage of their fall season — especially in Will's case." Houghton said.

Vasos' play in past fall seasons had not been as strong as his spring performances — which, Houghton said, the Fort Collins, Colo., native has worked hard to rectify.

Vasos and Bruche have not made any drastic changes on the court in their fall run, the coach said.

"They've both been inspired and enthusiastic about their senior year," he said. "It hasn't come from changing their game or changing their strokes."

Despite the record-setting play of the two, Vasos said, the most important thing is to not rest on his achievements; instead, the two must always try to improve in the next event. Last season, they went 13-6 as a doubles team.

"We just can't settle. We have to keep working hard," Vasos said. "We have to forget about our accomplishments, and we have to move on to the next tournament."

Both players will compete in the fall season-ending Big Ten Singles and Doubles Championships, which will be held Oct. 28-31 at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Center.

Houghton said Bruche and Vasos' play, especially against ranked competition, is going to give the Hawkeyes a boost going forward.

"They've played up to the level of the guys they have played," he said. "It's going to give them a lot of confidence more than anything else."


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