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Hawkeye women's tennis faces ranked Sooners

BY MICHAEL MAIENZA | FEBRUARY 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa Women’s tennis team spent extra time this week focusing on their preparation as they head into a weekend with two important matches.

Competition kicks off Friday afternoon at 3 P.M. as the squad takes on No. 36 ranked Oklahoma sooners. Then the Black and Gold continue their match play as they take the courts again on Saturday to face the Golden Eagles of Marquette University at 1 P.M. Both matches are being held at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

Friday’s match provides a great measuring point for the team as they take on a very competitive Oklahoma squad. Saturday’s match gives the Hawkeyes another chance to prove they are for real this season. Walking away from this weekend with another sweep is the objective this weekend and head coach Katie Dougherty thinks the team is as ready as they have ever been heading into the matches.

“The thing we stressed to the team all week was preparation,” Dougherty said. “We put pressure on them all week to prepare the best they could so that Friday we’ll have put all the pieces in place to play a our game so that hopefully we’ll have done all the things we need to do this week.  Training wise, hydration nutrition all those things we did to be ready to go here.”

The players agreed they need to come ready to compete at a high level this weekend, if they want to record another sweep.

“Everyone is going to have to come out there and compete their hardest,” sophomore Katie Zordani said. “Everyone can obviously win at every spot because they are holes in everyone’s (opponent’s) game and weaknesses that we can expose. If we do that we have a good chance of winning both matches.”

On paper, Oklahoma presents the tougher of the two matches this weekend, but the Hawkeye squad feel up to the challenge and is to eager take the courts. Zordani thinks she and her teammates are plenty capable of knocking off the Sooners especially because of the preparation they put in this week.

“It takes a lot of hard work both on and off the court,” said Zordani. “Proper nutrition, staying hydrated, the weight room, and hitting a lot of balls and just being prepared. If we know we are prepared, we’ll go out there do our best and see what happens.”

If the Black and Gold are successful in their objective of recording a sweep this weekend they will be counting on their No. 1 doubles team — consisting of sophomore Moven McCulluch and junior Ruth Seaborne.

The duo remains undefeated on the year and has been having fun while dominating opponents. The chemistry between the teammates is obvious and the duo, consisting of two players from the UK, said they are enjoying themselves.

“I think we have to take advantage from the start really,” McCulloch said. “Dominate with our serves so we don’t get behind in the set because we have done that once and that wasn’t going so well, we need to keep the momentum on our side.”

“We need to stay aggressive using serves to set each other up at the net because we are both strong at the net — definitely capitalizing on those things,” Seaborne added

The team is eager to get the weekend underway but is not going to look past Friday’s match. When asked how the team stays focused when playing matches on
back-to-back days coach Dougherty added useful insight.

“We are just going to get going on Friday,” Dougherty said. “Our focus is there, and we’ll deal with preparation for Marquette after our match — but they know we are in for a long weekend — that’s why we stressed so much preparation this week.”


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