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Iowa's men's tennis still seeking first Big Ten win

BY DOMINICK WHITE | APRIL 03, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa’s men’s tennis team will take on the Cornhuskers in Lincoln at the Nebraska Tennis Center this afternoon. The Hawkeyes will seek their first Big Ten win of the season.

The Black and Gold previously competed on the road against Illinois and Northwestern — both of which are nationally ranked. The Hawkeyes were unhappy with their results after being shut out in both matches, and they will try to build on that experience going into today’s matchup.

“I personally think energy is the key for us to have success,” junior Jonas Dierckx said. “We have the skills; now, it comes down to which team shows the most energy and willingness to fight. This is always a little bit harder to do when you’re on the road but essential to win against Big Ten teams.”

Playing on the road presents a few challenges, such as competing in a hostile environment or adjusting to the playing conditions of new courts. But Iowa’s head coach Steve Houghton thinks there are some benefits that go along with playing on the road.

“One advantage of being on the road is not having class during the day,” Houghton said. “We can practice the morning of the match, which helps — because they probably can’t [at home] because of their class schedules. Obviously, I’d rather be at home, but playing on the road is something we’ve adjusted to at this point.”

The Cornhuskers are relatively new to the Big Ten, so the Hawkeyes don’t have a whole lot of experience competing against them. Iowa lost to Nebraska last season, 6-1, and saw some of the Cornhusker’s players at Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional tournament last fall in Minneapolis.

Dusty Boyer and Tom Blackwell have shone for Nebraska. Boyer holds down the No. 3 singles position, and he’s 8-4 this spring. Blackwell improved from a poor fall mark of 2-5 to go 10-2 this spring, and he’s become a consistent factor in the lineup.

Nebraska comes into today’s meet as the No. 57 team in the country. It has posted a 9-8 record this season, but just 1-3 in conference play.

The Cornhuskers’ lone Big Ten win came against Penn State on March 31, 4-3. The Hawkeyes lost to Penn State, 4-3, this past weekend.

The two teams are relatively evenly matched, and today’s matchup should provide the Hawkeyes with a good opportunity to pick up their first Big Ten win of the season. Iowa’s players know they can’t get caught up in past performances in Big Ten road matches at this point.

“We’ve just have to move forward,” Hawkeye junior Juan Estenssoro said. “We cannot dwell on the 7-0 losses. We just have to focus on the next one. There are a lot of road meets left for us in the Big Ten season.”


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