Iowa men's tennis drops two Big Ten meets over weekend


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Iowa’s men’s tennis team came up short in a pair of Big Ten meets over the weekend. The Hawkeyes lost, 4-3, to Penn State on March 29. The meet was played outside, and it got off to an odd start because two courts were deemed to be unplayable because they were covered with ice.

Both coaches decided to play the singles matches before the doubles to avoid running out of sunlight. The Hawkeyes played four singles matches at first and finished the remaining two singles matches before beginning doubles play.

Jonas Dierckx played the most exciting singles match of the weekend against Penn State’s Brian Welnetz. The Lommel, Belgium, native was in an early 6-1 hole going into the second set.

“I made a lot of mistakes and was not playing well in the first set, so I tried to get my rhythm back in the second set,” Dierckx said.

The Black and Gold junior slowed down the pace in the second set and started forcing his opponent into mistakes. Dierckx slowly battled his way back to win the second set, 6-4. He completed the improbable comeback by winning the final set, 6-3.

“I was pretty pumped up after winning the second set, so I was confident going into the third set,” he said.

Freshman Dominic Patrick won his singles match in handily (6-1, 6-2). It was the freshman’s third singles victory in a row.

“When I come into the match with a lot of early energy, it carries over, and I end up playing well throughout the match,” he said. “I came in early with that energy today.”

Iowa faced the seventh-ranked Buckeyes two days later at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. The Hawkeyes battled, but the Scarlet and Gray proved to be too much to handle on their way to a 7-0 victory.

Hawkeye captain Garret Dunn had Peter Kobelt, the No. 4 player in the country, on the ropes in their matchup. Dunn took the first set, 6-4, but Kobelt stormed back to win the final two sets (6-2, 6-4). Matt Hagan, Dierckx, and Patrick all lost closely contested matches that could have gone either way. It was a tough loss for the Hawkeyes but it taught them a valuable lesson.

“Ohio State was a solid team, but they’re not an amazing team. We had chances in a lot of our matches today, and everyone fought pretty hard,” Dunn said. “I think it just goes to show that the gap between us and these higher ranked teams is not as big as we think.”

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