Loss to Dartmouth caps tough week for Hawkeyes


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The Iowa men’s tennis team squared off against Dartmouth on Sunday morning at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. Iowa played Dartmouth tough but came up just short, losing 4-2, in its third-straight game against a ranked foe.

The match with the Big Green was the team’s second loss this past weekend. Iowa was outdone by Illinois in Champaign on March 1. The Fighting Illini shut out Iowa, 7-0, living up to their No. 17 ranking.

Dartmouth came into Sunday’s matchup ranked 57th in the country. The Big Green started strong by beating the Hawkeyes in doubles play. Iowa’s Jonas Dierckx and Matt Hagan downed Dartmouth’s Cameron Ghorbani and Sam Todd (8-5).

Doubles teammates Garret Dunn and Michael Swank battled hard in a losing effort against the Big Green’s duo of Xander Centenari and Brandon Debot (8-6). Joey White and Juan Estenssoro couldn’t overcome a late Dartmouth rally, and also fell (8-6).

“Honestly, I’m disappointed with our doubles play,” Swank said. “I didn’t feel like there was a lot of energy out there in the three matches. We had our opportunities but we didn’t take them, so that hurt.”

Hagan had a solid day for the Hawkeyes, despite the loss. He was on the brink of elimination in his singles match. The sophomore dropped the first set of his match and was down 5-0 in the second.

Rather than rolling over, Hagan fought his way back point by point. The Omaha native stormed back to win the second set (7-6).

The comeback flustered his opponent Centenari. Hagan closed out his match strong by winning the third set (6-2).

“I felt like I was playing well the entire match, but everything was going his way,” Hagan said. “When I was down 5-0, I tried to focus on holding my serve to put pressure on him. I was just hoping to get a couple chances, and I did.”

Dunn was the other victorious Hawkeye. The Iowa captain defeated Cameron Ghorbani in straight sets (6-4, 6-4). The Hawkeye senior didn’t lose a game while serving.

Dierckx wasn’t able to complete his singles match, retiring in the third set due to a minor leg injury, head coach Steve Houghton said.

Freshman Dominic Patrick lost on a tiebreaker in the third set of his match with Justin Chan (5-7, 6-2-6, 7-6). Andres Estenssoro made his season d├ębut against the Big Green but lost in straight sets (6-1, 7-5). His brother, Juan Estenssoro, played an exhausting match but the Wichita State transfer lost in three sets (4-6, 6-3, 6-4).

Sunday’s meet was closer than the 4-2 score indicated. Iowa was a few tough breaks away from taking the doubles point from Dartmouth. Moreover, five out of the six singles matches went to a third set. But the inability to finish ultimately doomed the Black and Gold.

“I thought we played well in spots today,” Houghton said. “Not to make excuses but I do think fatigue was a factor today considering we’ve played four tough matches in the last week. We just need to continue to improve in all areas.”

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