A bond that transcends tennis


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The doubles tandem of Ruth Seaborne and Morven McCulloch has a bond that transcends the game of tennis.

Seaborne, the older of the two, hails from London; McCulloch was recruited to Iowa from St. Andrews, Scotland.

The two cities are approximately 475 miles apart, yet both being from Britain has helped the women to form a bond and a friendship that translates into an efficient doubles machine.

“We clicked from the start,” McCulloch said. “As soon as we started playing our doubles, it just worked.” 

The two began their journey as doubles partners last spring.

On the court the two move in a methodical rhythm, always playing off what the other is doing.

“Ruth is very solid at the back, and I like to be at the net,” said McCulloch. “ We play off of each other … also on court, we have good chat … we have good energy”

Head coach Katie Dougherty is confident in their abilities on the court.  The two advanced their record this season to 5-2 after helping propel the Hawkeyes to their first road win of the season on Feb. 15 against Marquette. They have been a constant staple of the team’s success thus far.

“They have a sense of comfort around each other that I think makes them better in tight matches,” Dougherty said. “Ruth hits a big ball, and Moe’s got some great touch around the net … they make each other raise their level when they need to.”

Off the court, the two teammates have a strong friendship. They can be continually seen joking around and poking fun at teammates.

“We’re really close friends,” said McCulloch, cracking a smile. “We have a lot of fun off the court.” 

Dougherty gained some interesting insights into their off-court interaction, having taken the pair to the West Coast to watch the American championships.

“I traveled with them out to California, and it was just constant laughing and jokes … it’s fun, too, for the coaches to be around that,” Dougherty said. “They are both funny, playful people.”

McCulloch’s and Seaborne’s qualities complement each other like two entwined pieces of a puzzle.

“They know each other’s tendencies,” Dougherty said. “Morven’s never really boisterous on the court; that’s just not her personality. Ruth’s a bit louder … they let their rackets do the talking.”

She believes the tandem’s potential is nearly limitless.

“They have the ability to be All-Americans,” Dougherty said. “They have the ability to be in the top 25 again, and push into the top 20, and hopefully make the NCAA Tournament.”

Last season, the two were ranked in the preseason top 25.

When compared with last spring at this time, the partners are light years ahead of where they were.

“Both of them are playing better tennis this year … when they get opportunities, they are going to have to take them against ranked teams,” Dougherty said.

Their next matchup will be Feb. 25 against Missouri-Kansas City in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

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