Hawkeye men's tennis losing streak at 10

BY TOM CLOS | MARCH 26, 2012 6:30 AM

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The losing streak has reached double-digits.

The Iowa men's tennis team dropped four of six singles matches and was swept in doubles by No. 53 Northwestern on the way to its 10th-straight defeat, 5-2, outdoors at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex on March 23.

The loss continues Iowa's season-long nosedive; the Hawkeyes fell to 1-12 (0-2 Big Ten) on the season.

Three of Iowa's four singles losses came in straight sets.

Sophomore Jonas Dierckx fell to the Wildcats' No. 102-ranked junior Spencer Wolf (6-0, 6-3). Junior Garret Dunn blew a late second-set lead en route to falling (6-3, 7-5) in the No. 3 spot. Senior Will Vasos' struggles continued in a 7-5, 6-4 defeat in the No. 4 slot.

The Colorado native's record dropped to 1-11 in singles play this spring.

"Will's trying, but it's kind of Murphy's Law — one after another," head coach Steve Houghton said. "He was up in the second set, 4-1, then all of a sudden five games go by, and he's lost."

Junior Connor Gilmore was playing in just his second match of the season, and he was clipped (6-1, 2-6, 6-1) in the No. 6 hole.

"It has been kind of hard coming in during the middle of the season," Gilmore said. "I'm still just trying to work on my game as much as I can."

Gilmore was a late replacement for sophomore Chase Tomlins, who was forced out because of a nagging injury that he re-aggravated in doubles.

"[Chase] was playing really well, then this injury hit," Houghton said. "He's pretty much over the injury, but there are days we have to hold him out of practice."

Tomlins' status for next weekend is unknown.

The Hawkeyes' victories in singles were delivered courtesy of senior Tom Mroziewicz and freshman Matt Hagan.

Hagan controlled the No. 1 match from beginning to end on the way to a 6-4, 6-3 triumph. The win improves the young Hawkeye's record to 2-9 on the year.

Mroziewicz picked up his first win of the season in his fifth attempt (4-6, 6-2, 6-4) in the No. 4 spot. He said he hopes the two successful performances against Northwestern will serve as stepping stones in the right direction for the team.

"It's all about gaining confidence and bouncing it off to other guys," Mroziewicz said. "Matt played a good match as well, and hopefully, those performances help the team out a bit in the next match."

Iowa led two of the three doubles matches at one point but faltered late in both.

The team of Dunn and sophomore Michael Swank couldn't complete a late comeback and dropped an 8-6 decision in the No. 1 position. The duo of Mroziewicz and Dierckx let a big lead slip away before losing in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (10-8) in No. 2 doubles. Vasos and Tomlins were walloped in the No. 3 matchup, 8-2, completing the sweep for Northwestern that staked the Wildcats to a 1-0 lead heading into the singles competition.

"We've gotten into the pattern of letting doubles points get away," Houghton said. "We didn't get it done when it counted."

Iowa will return to action on March 30 when it heads to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State.

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