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Hawkeye women's tennis led by a pair from the UK

BY MIKE MAIENZA | FEBRUARY 27, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team is off to a 5-3 start this season, and the team looks strong heading into the Big Ten part of its schedule.

A large portion of this success is due to Iowa’s No. 1 doubles team, junior Ruth Seaborne and sophomore Morven McCulloch.

The dynamic duo boasts an 8-0 record so far this season, including victories over ranked opponents from Notre Dame and Oklahoma. The pair’s success has gained significant fame — the two Hawkeyes are now ranked No. 43 in the country in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

One interesting dynamic about the duo is that both players are from the UK: McCulloch is from St. Andrews, Scotland, and Seaborne hails from London.

The average American likely expects some animosity between the two with their countryies having a somewhat testy history. They was asked if any bit of that rivalry existed between the two of them.

“Maybe off the court,” McCulloch said and laughed. “But on the court, we don’t think about it at all.”
The chemistry came right away, she said. Their on-court antics are something both athletes believe they’ve always had. There are never any fights between the two, which helps with the constant improvement of their play.

“I think we have kind of always had it, really,” McCulloch said. “We’ve always clicked on court and work well on court together.”

The teamwork is something that comes easy because of how they interact with each other. Their playing styles are complementary, McCulloch said, much as their personalities do off the court.

“I think, personality-wise, we click,” Seaborne said. “We don’t get angry with each other, and we are always very positive toward each other. Our game’s style, too, like Mo has really good hands, so she is great at the net, and I can hit balls to set her up at the net to put the point away.”

Iowa women’s tennis head coach Katie Dougherty appreciates the success they have had this season.
“They’re on a roll and are still undefeated on the season,” the head coach said. “They are so reliable, especially in locking down the big wins and really set the bar for all of our doubles teams.”

During the their impressive winning streak was their sensational performance against No. 37 Oklahoma. It was the first time this season the team faced a decisive tiebreaker set.

“Oklahoma was definitely the most nail-biting and intense match that we have had,” Seaborne said. “I think it was the first we’ve had a tiebreaker in, and we were down 4-2 in the tiebreaker and came back and won 5-straight points to win.”

McCulloch is excited about what the remainder of the season holds for her and her partner, and she has a few goals she is aiming for.

“First, get in the rankings, “ she said. “And then get a high enough ranking to get to nationals. And win every match — keep the undefeated streak alive.”


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