Iowa men's tennis senior Vasos works to overcome slump

BY TOM CLOS | FEBRUARY 15, 2012 6:30 AM

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Will Vasos has been the heart and soul of Iowa men's tennis for the past four years.

A starter since day one, he has racked up 126 career victories and won 65 percent win of his doubles matches. He has been recognized by the Big Ten numerous times for his sportsmanship.

Vasos is mired in a slump to start this season: He's 1-4 in singles and 2-2 in doubles play, but one shouldn't expect that to continue. He has long been known to be a tireless worker, and this reputation — among other things — has convinced head coach Steve Houghton that Vasos has been everything he saw in him when he recruited him in 2008.

"I knew he was the right kind of kid for the program in terms of attitude and work ethic," Houghton said. "He has met my expectations."

The senior from Fort Collins, Colo., was rated a four-star recruit by TennisRecruiting.net. Top college programs from around the nation were eager to lobby for his services, but Iowa had an advantage.

"My family is from Iowa, and both of my parents went here," Vasos said. "Obviously, the coaching staff here is awesome; I just fell in love with it."

Vasos said one memory in particular stands out from the hundreds he has accumulated throughout his Iowa tenure.

"My freshman year, we beat Michigan, and my doubles partner and I — [former Hawkeye] Tommy McGeorge — won the clinching match," Vasos said. "It was a really cool feeling, a huge win for the program."

Making his overall doubles record more impressive is that Vasos has been consistently successful with a wide variety of partners. He has played with a long list of Hawkeyes, including McGeorge, former Iowa players Austen Kauss and Marc Bruche, and now fellow senior Tom Mroziewicz.

"He's had really solid records year after year, no matter where he has played at," Houghton said. "He's a great teammate."

Now a senior, Vasos has the task of providing veteran leadership to a group of otherwise young, inexperienced players.

"Will has always been a leader," sophomore Jonas Dierckx said. "I came here last year, and he always gives us so much information … In matches, he tells us how to handle stress and things like that. He always helps all of us freshmen and sophomores and guides us through the process."

Vasos' influence on the rest of the team isn't lost on the coaches, either.

"A lot of the guys look up to Will, the way he plays" Houghton said. "The last thing he would be is arrogant. He's friends with everybody."

Vasos says he wants to make history this season when asked if there was anything left he wants to accomplish.

"Be the first to go to NCAAs for Coach," Vasos said. "Hopefully, have a record-breaking season."

No matter what happens with the rest of the year, he said, he hopes at the very least to leave his own legacy on the program.

"I just want people to remember that I worked hard and did everything I could," he said.

For Houghton, Vasos has been a pleasure to be around for four years, and he doesn't want to see him leave any time soon.

"He's a guy who really made the most out of his career here," Houghton said. "I'm going to miss him when that time comes."

When that time eventually does come, though, Vasos said he'll be sure to leave a parting message with each of his former teammates.

"Four years go by fast; make the most of it," he said. "I know I'll miss it for sure."

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