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Iowa women's tennis splits matches at home this weekend

BY ALEC CLASEN | FEBRUARY 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team pulled off an impressive upset against No. 72 Oregon Ducks on Feb. 7 at home, 5-2, yet failed to defeat No. 74 DePaul Blue Demons ,falling in a heartbreaking loss on Sunday, 4-3.

The Hawkeyes came out of the gates swinging Feb. 7, stunning the Ducks early and taking the doubles point in an intense fashion.

After the 2 and 3 spots split matches, team leaders Ruth Seaborne and Morven McCulloch were put on the spot. Showing no signs of stress, the effective duo methodically dispatched of their opponents, 6-4, to yank the doubles point away from the Ducks.

“They are at their best when they are playing aggressively … for them its simple. Play aggressive, ” said head coach Katie Dougherty.

Clearly gaining confidence, the Hawkeyes kept on the throttle in singles, wining four of the six singles matches to bdeat the Ducks.

“We came out here with the knowledge that we have the ability to win,” said Shelby Talcott, who was impressive during her singles match.

“Taking my chances at the net definitely helped me in my match.”

Talcott succeeded in frustrating her opponent, who became visibly more and more upset with every point.

The confidence garnered Feb. 7 didn’t translate to Sunday, however, with the Hawks falling to a more aggressive DePaul squad.

With a start reminiscent of Feb. 7, the Hawkeyes and Blue Demons split the first doubles matches. Iowa, however, was unable to grasp the last match and lost the doubles point.

With the pressure on, Seaborne and McCulloch again responded to the call.

Mchulloch defeated No. 52 Ana Valdutu, battling back after trailing in the first set to take the match (7-5, 6-2).

Seaborne handled her opponent after also trailing in the first set, showcasing an impressive display of power with her forehand returns to win the match (6-4,6-2).

“Today, my main focus was to play my game, stay aggressive, and use my forehand as much as I could,” said Seaborne.

Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, they were unable to close out the meet.

With three of the remaining matches coming to tiebreakers, with the total score tied 3-3, DePaul’s Zaina Sufi was able to overtake Iowa’s Katie Zordani to take the last match, winning the tiebreaker, 10-5.

The loss was very frustrating for the team, with the meet close throughout the day.

“I think today was definitely the best we’ve competed as a team,” said Seaborne after the match. “It’s obviously disappointing, but there are a lot of positives we can take out of it.”

“That doubles point killed us,” Dougherty said. “My team battled, and I’m proud of every single one of them. It’s just one of those things where today was their day.”

This is the Hawks’ second meeting with DePaul this season; they faced the Blue Demons in the Wildcat Winter Duals in January.

“Our growth has been unbelievable,” said Dougherty. “We’ve gotten better every week … we competed better; we played better.”

The Hawkeyes will travel to Milwaukee next weekend to take on Marquette at 9 a.m. Saturday.


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