Iowa posts third-consecutive sweep


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The Iowa men’s tennis team posted yet another sweep on Tuesday against Missouri-Kansas City, the Hawks’ latest victim in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

The Hawkeyes opened the 2014 season on Feb. 1 with a pair of 7-0 victories in a double-header against Illinois State and Western Illinois. Iowa, now 3-0, had no problem continuing its winning ways Tuesday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes opened the day in doubles action with seniors Brian Alden and Michael Swank leading the way in the No. 1 spot. The duo posted Iowa’s first win of the meet with a 6-1 victory over the Kangaroos’ Mike Psarros and Tomas Patino.

Playing in the No. 2 spot, seniors Jonas Dierckx and Juan Estenssoro posted a 6-4 victory to secure the doubles point. Freshman Nils Hallestrand and senior Joey White fought their back from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-5 (7-4) at No. 3.

“I was a little disappointed that we didn’t come out playing well in doubles,” said Iowa head coach Steve Houghton. “We had to make some comebacks, but having said that, our guys did a pretty good job with it.”

The duo of Hallestrand and White finished their match even though two doubles matches had won for the Hawkeyes.

“It was really good that we kept playing, because we were not playing well at the start and it felt good to come back,” White said. “The past two matches we’ve played [this season] were pretty easy, so it was good to have a challenge.”

In singles play, four of the six matches were decided in straight sets. Junior Matt Hagan, coming back from an injury, posted the Hawkeyes’ first singles victory of the day with a decisive 6-2, 6-2 win over Vinh Pham in the No. 4 spot.

“It felt really good,” he said. “I was just more excited to get back and do something for the team.”
In addition to Hagan’s win, Dierckx (6-3, 6-3), Estenssoro (6-3, 6-4), and sophomore Dominic Patrick (6-2, 6-4) won in straight sets. Alden and Swank won their matches in tiebreakers (10-5) to complete the sweep.

“I think this is my best match from all three meet so far,” Dierckx said. “Basically, I played more aggressive and didn’t make as many mistakes as I did in the previous matches. I also didn’t let the opponent come back, which I did in the previous [matches], so that’s important.”

The Iowa men’s tennis team will prepare for two matches this weekend.

“We know [Northern Illinois and Minnesota] will be tough, and we know what we have to do,” Dierckx said. “The coaches gave us game plans, and that’s what we’re going to work on.”

The Hawkeyes will host Northern Illinois at 6 p.m. Friday; their first Big Ten match of the season will be against Minnesota at noon Feb. 16. The duals will take place in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

“I’m happy to get the win for sure, but I think everyone is realistic enough to know we’ll have to play a lot better against each of these next two teams coming up,” Houghton said. “Northern Illinois is a very good team, and Minnesota has been one of the better teams in the Big Ten the past several years.”

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