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Iowa men's tennis returns to action on Feb. 24 vs. Western Michigan

BY DOMINICK WHITE | FEBRUARY 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis team will return to action on Sunday at 11 a.m., when they face Western Michigan at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The Hawkeyes are ready to return to the court after being away from match play since their double-header on Feb. 9th.

The long break between matches will be beneficial for the Hawkeyes. It’s given them time to work on their technique and recuperate. The lengthy break allowed players to concentrate on individual improvements during practice as opposed to preparing for a match.

“The two weeks off helped me a lot,” sophomore Matt Hagan said. “It allowed me to get rest, get over some injuries, and we practiced hard so I feel like my game improved.”

The Hawkeyes will be tested on Sunday against Western Michigan. The Broncos competes in the MAC conference, where they have been traditionally strong. As of this weekend, Western Michigan is in second in the MAC standings.  The Broncos are 8-3 on the season and they are victorious in their last five meets.

“Western Michigan is a strong team every year,” Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said. “We’ve had a long series with them filled with close matches. The past couple years Western Michigan has dominated the MAC and made the NCAA tournament. They are a strong team and a step up from teams we’ve played recently.”

Two of Western Michigan’s losses this season came against nationally ranked opponents. They lost to #41 ranked Northwestern by a score of 2-5. Additionally, Western Michigan fell to #65 Princeton by the same count. The Broncos will come into Iowa City battle tested and will provide a stifling challenge for the Hawkeyes.

The Broncos tennis team has quality depth and features six players with winning records.  Junior Nadin Indre is the Broncos’ top singles player and has gotten off to a hot start in the early portion of this spring season. Indre is 9-3 this year and will likely play Hagan in singles match play.

Western Michigan senior Aaron Wong is 15-8 this season and has won eight of his last ten matches. Another Western Michigan player to keep an eye on is Ross VanderPloeg. The senior was named MAC Player of the Week this week and he is 12-9 on the year. Last year, VanderPloeg was named to the Second Team All-MAC.

The Hawkeyes will take the court on Sunday looking to extend their five meet winning streak. During the time off, Hawkeye captain Garret Dunn was able to recover from the spring season-opening grind, as well as enhance his skills.

He’s anxious to finally compete again this weekend.

“I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m kind of excited to get back to playing in a routine,” Dunn said. “During the spring season you’re used to playing a match every weekend. You have one or two off weekends and it’s nice because you can rest and work on some stuff. But once you get in the zone of playing every weekend you’re used to being focused all the time.

“Once you lose that you’re itching to get it back.”


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