Tennis coach Houghton hospitalized before Hawkeye go 1-2 in tournament

BY DI STAFF | JANUARY 30, 2012 7:20 AM

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Iowa men's tennis coach Steve Houghton was hospitalized with what doctors are calling pancreatitis while traveling to the team's tournament in Virginia on Jan. 27.

Houghton was en route to the event when he started experiencing what was characterized as "stomach pains," forcing him to seek medical assistance. Iowa student sports-information staffer Brady Johnson told The Daily Iowan that Houghton is resting at his home. He could not be reached for comment, and his status for next weekend is unknown.

The Hawkeyes opened the season with a rather pedestrian effort, going 1-2 at the Intercollegiate Tennnis Association Kickoff Classic in Virginia. Iowa fell to both William & Mary and Dartmouth by 4-3 scores on Jan. 28. The Hawkeyes picked up their first win of the season in the weekend's final match, defeating George Washington, 4-2, on Sunday.

Sophomore Jonas Dierckx continued to roll, going 3-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles play — but he was the only individual bright spot in an otherwise forgettable weekend.

Seniors Will Vasos and Tom Mroziewicz, junior Mitch Beckert, and freshman Matt Hagan combined to go 3-9 in singles play.

Entering the season, Iowa knew it would need its "Big Three" of Vasos, Dierckx, and Hagan to at least turn in solid performances each weekend to have any hope of finishing with a winning record and competing for the Big Ten title.

Vasos and Direckx had strong starts on Jan. 28, each scoring victories in singles matches against William & Mary, but the Tribe swept the next four matches to negate the effort. Vasos lost his next two singles matches against Dartmouth and George Washington, and Hagan didn't get into the win column until Sunday with a victory against George Washington.

The Hawkeyes dominated across the board in doubles matches, finishing 8-1 on the weekend, but that was mired by the disappointing performance in singles play.

The team will attempt to rebound from its sputtering start when it opens its home season next weekend by Arkansas on Friday and DePaul on Feb. 5 at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

— by Tom Clos

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