Hawkeye men's tennis ready for another double-header


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After a week off from competition, the Iowa men’s tennis team is prepared to host its second double-header of the season on Saturday at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

On Feb. 1, the Hawkeyes defeated Western Illinois and Bradley in the season’s first double-header. That experience will be beneficial on Saturday. 

“It gives us confidence,” team captain Garret Dunn said. “Going 2-0 in our first double-header definitely helps. Guys know that they can play long matches and have the stamina to last all day.”

The Hawkeyes will need their confidence when they compete against Creighton at 9:30 a.m. and Butler at 3:30 p.m. The Bluejays come in with a 1-0 mark on the spring season. Creighton defeated Western Illinois by a 5-2 count on Feb. 2.

Iowa ran Western Illinois off the court last weekend, winning by way of a 7-0 skunking. That result will likely inspire confidence in the Hawkeyes.

The second meet of Saturday’s double-header could pose some problems for the Hawkeyes; Butler enters the match on a three-meet winning streak. After starting off their season 0-4, the Bulldogs have gained some momentum.

Billy Weldon is one Bulldog that Black and Gold fans should keep an eye on. Dating back to last season, Weldon has posted an overall record of 10-6, and he is one of Butler’s top singles players. Pulok Bhattacharya might also pose some problems for the Hawkeyes — he is 10-9 during the 2012-13 season, but he has won three singles matches in a row.

Butler has competed against two Big Ten opponents this season. Both Purdue and Ohio State beat Butler without losing a match. However, Hawkeye Garret Dunn disregarded Butler’s inexperience (all the Bulldogs are sophomores or freshmen), and he said his team will prepare the same way it normally does.

Butler also possesses a dynamic doubles duo that features Weldon and partner Austin Woldmoe. They are 12-7 in doubles play during the 2012-13 season, and they’ll likely face the Black and Gold tandem of Dunn and Michael Swank.

The doubles matches will be a key in Saturday afternoon’s meet. Iowa has won the doubles point in three-straight matches, and it helps fuel their play in singles matches.

“Getting a point in doubles helps by giving us confidence going into our singles matches,” Iowa junior Jonas Dierckx said. “When you lose, it’s hard, because you have to get your confidence back during singles, but when you pick up an early win, you can just move on and focus on the singles match.”

Iowa has shown signs of confidence during the early portion of the spring season. Keeping that confidence throughout the season is imperative, because the Hawkeyes have tough matchups looming later on.

“After last fall season, this team needs some confidence,” Iowa tennis head coach Steve Houghton said. “In tennis, just like any sport, confidence means everything.”

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