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Men's tennis to host double-header

BY JORDAN BUCHER | FEBRUARY 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis team, now 5-2 (1-0), will return to its home courts on Friday for its second doubleheader of the season against North Dakota  and Creighton. The doubleheader will amount to the Hawkeyes’ fourth matchup in the past eight days.

Iowa hit the road for the first time on Feb. 22 to take on Western Michigan. Head coach Steve Houghton knew the Broncos would be good competition, but his main concern was how well the team would handle playing on the road for the first time this season. The Hawkeyes ultimately fell in a close 4-3 deficit to the Broncos, recording their first loss on the season.

Iowa enjoyed a short break before heading to Des Moines to face then-No. 65 Drake. In the latest ITA polls released Tuesday, the Hawkeyes landed at No. 55th.

Prior to facing the Hawkeyes, Drake fell 4-3 to then ranked No. 49 Minnesota — a team Iowa triumphed over in a 4-3 upset to send the gophers back in their holes. Iowa fell 7-0 to the Bulldogs in its most recent outing.

“Drake’s a tough team — a top-40 team in the country. A lot of guys are back on their team from last year and they had one of the best seasons in the history of their program,” assistant coach Ross Wilson said. “They really came out in doubles, got the breaks early on all three courts and rode that momentum through to singles. We just got down early and it was tough for us to get anything going.”

Senior Michael Swank credits the Bulldogs dominating surge over Iowa to their seemingly insatiable desire to always be the top force in the state. The in-state rivalry gave Drake the extra spark it needed to shutout the Hawkeyes.

“That was an ugly match for us. I think they felt a little disrespected because we were higher than them in the rankings,” said Swank, who fell 6-1, 6-1 in his match at No. 6 singles.

“[Drake] always want to prove they are the best team in Iowa, and they really came out with the energy to prove that. It’s a match I always look forward to because I know they always bring it.”

Swank, along with doubles partner Brian Alden, fell 8-5 at the No. 1 spot in doubles play. 

“They just came to play. They were aggressive and I think they wanted it a little more,” Alden, a senior, said. “We were a little tired, but we need to play better [tomorrow]. We need to come out with a lot more energy and come ready to play from the first point.”

North Dakota will enter the meet on Friday with a 2-3 record on the season, while Creighton holds a 2-1 record overall.

The strong competition — at least on paper — is over for the Hawkeyes as they head into Friday’s matchups, but Wilson still expects the same intensity from the Hawks.

“I expect the guys to come out and treat it like a Drake match, Minnesota match, or any other Big Ten match,” Wilson said. “They need to come out and play with energy and play together.”


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