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Women's tennis opens with Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Iowa

BY ALEC CLASEN | JANUARY 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa Hawkeye women’s tennis team will open its dual season at home Saturday at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. The Hawkeyes will take on Nebraska-Omaha at noon and Northern Iowa at 5 p.m.

The Mavericks are a new opponent for the Hawkeyes, and they will face Iowa State today before traveling to Iowa City. The Hawks are perfect all-time against the Panthers, posting a 7-0 record, and they seem poised to keep the run alive this weekend.

The Hawks have worked hard in practice to gear up to be their best this weekend.

“Preparation, that’s our theme for this season,” head coach Katie Dougherty said.

The fifth-year coach noted that recent practices have only reinforced that theme.

“We are prepping as we would for our Big Ten schedule,” Dougherty said.

The Hawkeyes are led by lone senior Ruth Seaborne, the No. 56 singles player in the nation.

Seaborne, who finished last weekend’s Wildcat Winter Duals with a 2-1 singles record, beating No. 52 Ana Vladutu (6-3, 6-1) will try to maintain her stellar play.

“I try to lead by example,” she said.

Seaborne and Ellen Silver, who beat DePaul’s Carolin Neumann (6-0, 6-1) were the only singles match winners the Hawkeyes had last weekend.

Juniors Morven McCulloch and Shelby Talcott will seek to improve on their play from last weekend.

“In practice I try to stay aggressive with shots and always compete and stay ready” McCulloch said. “I try to mix it up; I like to slice my backhand a lot and be aggressive at the net.”

Talcott is confident in her abilities and seems ready to take on the competition.

“I’ve been training hard, hitting extra balls, giving my best effort,” she said.

Both juniors came out of the Wildcat Duals winless, and they are eager to have different outcomes this weekend.

When asked about their goals for this season, Seaborne and McCulloch had very similar answers.

“One match at a time … I want to improve every week,” McCulloch said.

Seaborne had similar sentiments: “I’m going to take it match by match; we are a great team and very capable.”

For Iowa, it’s good these two think alike, because they happen to be doubles partners and a very effective duo. They are the Hawks’ best duo with an impressive record last year of 16-7, 5-3 record in conference play.

They were ranked as the No. 38 doubles tandem by the end of last season.

Facing numerous teams this weekend presents new opportunities for the Hawks that they normally wouldn’t have.

“A double-header gives us room to try out different doubles combos,” Dougherty said.


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