Iowa women's tennis notches first conference victory

BY MIKE MAIENZA | MARCH 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team split its matches this past weekend, falling to No.7 Northwestern on March 8, 5-2. Iowa won its match Sunday, upsetting No.33 Illinois, 5-2.

Sunday’s victory marks the first win over a ranked opponent in the season, although the Hawkeyes have come close numerous times. After dropping the doubles point, the team came back on to the courts with a clear focus and mission of earning its first conference victory.

“Against two ranked teams we played really well,” Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty said. “Coming into today, I felt we were evenly matched with Illinois … After the doubles point, one of the things I challenged the team to do was to out-compete them, and they did.”

The Hawkeyes received exceptional contributions from No. 1 singles player Ruth Seaborne and No. 2 singles player Shelby Talcott. Both players went undefeated, and each of Seaborne’s victories came against ranked opponents.

“We have been looking for that one big win over a ranked team, and we’ve had so many close matches, and today we managed to get it,” she said.

Talcott’s victories come after a third-set tiebreaker defeat against Nebraska, and her ability to rebound bodes well for her game. The victory over Illinois was exactly what the team needed and something Talcott said she was happy to be a part of.

“I feel like I am playing better and better, fine-tuning my game,” she said. “This game, I was really able to cut down on my unforced errors, so hopefully, I will continue to get better.”

The Hawkeyes opened their Big Ten schedule facing three ranked opponents, and they now have a 1-2 conference record. Even though the team only won one of its matches, it’s a huge monkey off the squad’s back, not only winning their first conference match of the year but also taking their first victory against a ranked opponent. 

The team will not play again until March 18, when it heads to Malibu, Calif., for three matches during spring break. Dougherty said she is ready for the trip and excited about getting her team playing outdoors again.

“We are hitting spring break with three nonconference matches, so we are going to enjoy this one and start thinking about Dartmouth and start thinking about outdoor tennis and take it from there,” she said.

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