Iowa men’s tennis heads to B1G tournament


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The Iowa men’s tennis team will head to Madison, Wis., to compete in the Big Ten Singles/Doubles Tournament in what will be the team’s final competition this fall.

For head coach Steve Houghton, it’s a good opportunity to see a lot of unfamiliar players on Big Ten teams that the Hawkeyes will face in the upcoming dual season.

“We really haven’t seen a lot of these guys,” he said. “A lot of them are freshmen.”

The coaching dean of Big Ten men’s tennis is bringing along eight singles players, all of whom will play doubles as well.

“We need to finish on a high note,” Houghton said. “For various reasons, we haven’t won as much as guys have wanted to.”

One of the reasons, Houghton believes, is that a lot of players have been playing in more difficult brackets in this season’s tournaments. Thus far, Iowa has combined singles record of 24-39 and a combined doubles record of 11-13.

“We’ve made some improvements in ways, but now it’s time to finish things off in terms of wins and losses,” Houghton said.

Junior Chase Tomlins believes that this tournament is a great way to build up for the spring Big Ten season.

“It definitely helps more than every other fall tournament,” he said. “A lot of teams bring their younger players to get experience and feel the pressure to get ready for the dual season.”

While this year’s bracket will help, Tomlins and the rest of the team can draw on last year’s Big Ten season to prepare for this tournament.

“We’ll see the [Big Ten] players last spring in the duals, but coming up on them a whole year later, you can’t really use that information as much as you can from four or five months ago,” Tomlins said. “We use this tournament as a reference more than any other tournament [in preparation].”

He also believes this competition can be an effective way to build momentum heading into the offseason.

“You can really use this tournament as motivation,” he said. “If you do poorly, it’s pretty easy to set it behind and look forward to the spring season. But if you do well in a tournament with all Big Ten schools, it gives you a lot of confidence.”

This tournament will be the first real taste of Big Ten competition for freshman Dominic Patrick, who has had made an impact already in his first year at Iowa.

“The team has been really supportive, and it’s helped me a lot to improve faster,” he said. “I think having them there rooting me on is really helpful.”

For the first-year player, this is his first tournament where every player is in his conference. He lost his only singles match against a Big Ten opponent last week in the Northwestern Invitational.

“I think it’s going to be a lot more competitive [than previous fall tournaments],” Patrick said. “It’s basically a battle of which school is the best in conference. It’s going to be intense.”

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