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Big Ten men's tennis season coming to an end

BY DOMINICK WHITE | APRIL 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis team wraps up Big Ten play this weekend with its last two conference meets. The Hawkeyes will play No. 69 Wisconsin at 1 p.m. today at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation complex, followed by a road meet against No. 32 Minnesota at noon April 21.

The Hawkeyes head into this weekend’s action searching for answers at the fifth singles position. Freshman Dominic Patrick previously held that spot in the Black and Gold lineup.

Patrick came into this season as a decorated recruit Gilbert, Ariz. He was ranked the No. 47 recruit in the country coming out of Campo Verde High School. The Hawkeye put together an 8-11 record in his first season competing at the college level, but he recently suffered an abdominal injury that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.

“Injuries happen,” Patrick said. “I’m lucky it won’t keep me out for very long. All I can do is come back better next year and stay healthy.”

Iowa tennis coach Steve Houghton said he doesn’t have a set player in mind to take over the empty space in the lineup. Instead, he’ll cycle Joey White, Chase Tomlins, Michael Swank, and Andres Estenssoro into the fifth singles slot.

“We will have to mix and match to an extent in order to replace Dom in the lineup,” Houghton said. “We basically did that last weekend, too. We played two guys on Friday and had two completely different guys in there on Sunday.”

Sophomore Matt Hagan and his teammates plan to continue their stout doubles play from the past weekend — Hagan and partner Garret Dunn won both of their matches, and Iowa went on to win four out of five matches. 

The Black and Gold doubles teams will be tested this afternoon against the Badgers. No. 69 Wisconsin has competed well in doubles play during the Big Ten season despite its shortcomings in singles play.

Wisconsin’s top tandem of Billy Bertha and Alexander Kostanov have defeated two ranked doubles opponents in conference play this season en route to earning a No. 88 national ranking. Another pair to watch out for in the Badger’s lineup is Jakhongir Jalalov and Oskar Wikbreg — they have recorded a 5-3 mark in Big Ten competition.

But Wisconsin is vulnerable in singles. Kostanov is the only singles player in the Badger lineup with a record above .500 at 12-8, while five players have a record of 1-5 or worse.

“We all kind of compare scores and look at teams to see how we match up with them,” Hagan said. “But in a way, it doesn’t really matter who we play, because we are going to go out and try as hard as we can to win no matter what.”


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