Women's tennis duo heads to ITA's


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Iowa women's tennis players Sonja Molnar and Shelby Talcott will compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's regional championship on Friday in Tulsa, Okla.

Molnar, a senior with a 6-1 singles record this season, and Talcott, a freshman with a singles record of 5-2, will compete both individually and together in doubles.

Head coach Katie Dougherty said she like the pair's chances in Tulsa, even if the two Hawkeyes have never played in the city before.

"The courts can play at different speeds, but Sonja and Shelby have been playing their whole lives," Dougherty said. "It's something where after 10 or 15 minutes they're used to it, and it's a sort of nonfactor."

Assistant coach Jesse Medvene-Collins agreed that playing on an unfamiliar court shouldn't be an issue, and he called both Molnar and Talcott "well-seasoned players."

Medvene-Collins did say he hopes Molnar and Talcott have a chance to practice before the tournament starts on Friday.

The regionals is different from other events in which the Hawkeyes have participated this fall, because it is an elimination tournament. The tournament's winners in singles and doubles will proceed to nationals in New York.

Medvene-Collins will stay in Iowa City to "run home base" while Dougherty, Molnar, and Talcott head south to Tulsa. Medvene-Collins said the reason the team is sending Molnar and Talcott together is that they have pernals change locations every year, and approximately 190 athletes will descend on Tulsa for the central division tournament this weekend.

Kali Krisik, the first-year assistant women's coach at Tulsa, the tournament's host school, said hosting the tournament adds another challenge to the already daunting task of playing an elimination-style event.

"There are a lot more teams in the region," she said. "We've got to get the practice courts ready, hotel reservations and make [seeding] draws. There's not as much time as normal. It's a logistical challenge."

That won't stop Krisik's players from bringing their best game, Medvene-Collins said. The Iowa assistant said he thought Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Arkansas would present particularly strong competition for Molnar and Talcott, but he expects well-rounded opponents from every team — which he said is a good thing.

The caliber of athletes at the regional forces his players to step up, he said.

"There aren't any slouches," Medvene-Collins said. "Even if it's a smaller school, they're still bringing their best players. The level of competition is strong from day one."

Medvene-Collins said that while the rest of the team will stay in Iowa City and prepare for its next tournament — the Purdue Invitational on Nov. 4-6 — the squad will support Molnar and Talcott as they head into the regional competition.

"[Molnar and Talcott are] quick out there on the courts," Medvene-Collins said. "They're a good team, and hopefully, they'll do well this weekend."

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