Iowa men's tennis falls to Nebraska

BY TOM CLOS | APRIL 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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Another poor performance in singles play, and another loss for the Iowa men's tennis team.

The Hawkeyes lost five of six singles matches after dropping the doubles point and fell to No. 68 Nebraska, 6-1, at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex on Wednesday.

Iowa's record fell to 1-15, (0-5 Big Ten), and its winless streak stretched to 13 matches.

"[The players] are obviously suffering match after match as they continue to lose," head coach Steve Houghton said. "It's tough on them, but I give them credit for hanging in there."

The Hawkeyes entered the match hoping to take better advantage of leads, especially in doubles play. Iowa had a lead at one point in each of the three doubles matches, then faltered.

The duo of junior Garret Dunn and sophomore Michael Swank was unable to build on an early edge in the No. 1 spot, and eventually succumbed to the Cornhuskers' No. 19 nationally ranked team of Christopher Aumueller and Benedikt Lindheim, 8-5.

The team of senior Tom Mroziewicz and sophomore Jonas Dierckx also squandered an early 4-2 lead and fell at No. 3, 8-6.

"At this stage, some of it is mental," Houghton said. "When things start turning against you, it's easy to think the law of averages will eventually catch up — but recently, that's been trumped by history repeating itself."

The lone Iowa victory in doubles came in the No. 2 slot, where senior Will Vasos and freshman Matt Hagan claimed a tight 8-6 victory.

Singles play has been the Hawkeyes' Achilles heel all season long, and Wednesday was no different.
Hagan was dispatched by the No. 79 nationally ranked Aumueller (6-0, 6-3) in the No. 1 singles match. His record dropped to 2-11.

"He's a very good player, and I welcomed the challenge," Hagan said. "I look at these matches in the No. 1 position to improve my game most importantly."

Vasos took the first set of his match in No. 2 singles but dropped the following set and super-tiebreaker (6-7, 6-4, 1-0 [10-2]). Even though he lost the match and fell to 1-14 on the season, Vasos said he was encouraged by his performance.

"I felt like I was transported back to my junior year when I was doing so well," Vasos said. "Even though I lost, that's the first match I've enjoyed all season."

Junior Garret Dunn, playing in the No. 3 spot, lost a one-set lead and dropped the match in a super-tiebreaker (4-6, 7-6, 1-0, [10-8]).

"You really put yourself in a tough position, having to win every one of those close matches," Houghton said. "The odds of winning them, including the doubles point, are pretty slim."

Mroziewicz and sophomore Joey White both fell straight sets in the No. 5 and No. 6 matchups.

Iowa's singles point came courtesy of sophomore Jonas Dierckx, who battled back from a one-set deficit to claim the victory in the No. 4 match (1-6, 6-2, 6-2).

The victory is Dierckx's first since Feb. 19, improving him to 5-10 on the season.

"He's playing guys that are great all of the time," Houghton said. "[Jonas] takes losses hard, and we're trying to convince him that he needs to keep his head up. Recently, he's been hitting the ball pretty well."

Still, the defeat puts another red mark on what was supposed to be a special season.

"Obviously, it's tough to lose another match," Houghton said. "This is far from the season we envisioned, especially after such a great fall."

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