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Hawkeye women's tennis holds on to beat Iowa State

BY PATRICK MASON | FEBRUARY 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa women's tennis team grew up this weekend.

The Hawkeyes demonstrated their grit and hung on to close out Iowa State in a 4-3 win in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Center on Sunday.

The young Iowa team (3-0) won all three doubles matches, extending its winning streak to 20 meets when sweeping the doubles point.

"We work a ton on doubles and especially try to get off to fast starts," head coach Katie Dougherty said. "It hasn't happened yet, but it's starting to, and today [Sunday] was probably the best doubles point yet."

However, Iowa State showed new life when the singles matches began.

Iowa senior Sonja Molnar padded her untarnished singles record when she beat Maria Fernanda Macedo (6-1, 6-1) and increased the Hawkeyes' team lead to 2-0.

But while Molnar powered her way to victory, her teammates were losing.

"Iowa State came to play; it really did," Dougherty said. "Once we got that doubles point under our belt, in singles, Iowa State really came out firing and did a very good job."

Iowa State's Tessa Lang and Jenna Langhorst downed the Hawkeyes' Ellen Silver and Katie Zordani in straight sets at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions.

Hawkeye freshman Shelby Talcott had to battle in the first set but beat Ksenia Pronina (7-5, 6-3).

Iowa was leading, 3-2, and needed either Morven McCulloch or Christina Harazin to come through with the clinching win.

Harazin had dropped her first set but battled back in a tight second frame to force a third.

"I came out today and realized I wasn't playing my best tennis," she said. "I was down 4-1 in the second, and I just stuck with it and kept fighting. My big thing is to stay positive and to keep swinging."

Harazin couldn't hang on, though, and dropped the match (6-4, 5-7, 6-4). The meet was tied.

McCulloch won her first set over Simona Cacciuttolo by means of a tiebreaker and lost the second without winning a game. But the freshman from Scotland stayed positive even when the momentum wasn't on her side.

"I really went for it on the tiebreaker, and I managed to get it — but the second set, all of that fell away. She was more pumped, and won it," McCulloch said. "Jesse [assistant coach Medvene-Collins] really helped me to get back in the mindset to take the third."

McCulloch rode that mindset and the fans' energy to a 6-2 win in the third set to take the match (7-6, 0-6, 6-2) and win the meet.

The Hawkeyes will go on the road for the first time this season against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State next weekend.

"We are really grateful for this push today as we go into next weekend against two very good ranked teams," Dougherty said. "It's exactly what we needed — to see that higher level — and it gives us some things to work on during this short week."


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