Iowa men's tennis team heads east for spring break


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The No. 57 Iowa men’s tennis team will board a plane to Charleston, S.C., this afternoon for its annual spring-break trip. The Hawkeyes will play three matches under Carolina’s sunny skies to kick off the outdoor season.

Iowa will enter this week’s matchups coming off a strong indoor season, going 8-2. The Hawkeyes will face the College of Charleston 2 p.m. Friday and the Citadel 1:30 p.m. Saturday  before heading three hours northwest to Greenville to take on Furman at 2 p.m. March 18.

“We decide where we go based on the teams,” assistant coach Ross Wilson said. “The College of Charleston and Furman are pretty good teams. They will push us, give us good matches, and help prepare us for the Big Ten season when we return.”

In addition to facing fresh competition, the team will be presented with new challenges from the often unpredictably force of Mother Nature — a component to the game of tennis that Iowa hasn’t had to deal with since November.

The Hawkeyes will take their game from the smooth indoor courts to the grittier playing surfaces outdoors, and they will have to adjust to a different speed of play.

“It will be a big adjustment,” Wilson said. “The conditions are much different outside. The ball travels slower, so our footwork will be important because more balls are likely to be returned. There is also the Sun and the wind to be accounted for.”

The Hawkeyes will have one day of preparation after they arrive to adjust to the new conditions before taking on Charleston.

“It’ll be important the first couple of days we get there to practice on the courts and get used it,” Wilson said. “We have three good matches outside in the next week, and it will be great for us because we’ve been in the same building for two months and have practiced and played a ton of matches in here, so it will be good for these guys to get on the road together.”

One Hawkeye in particular, sophomore Dominic Patrick, is looking forward to moving his game outside.

“I really like the outdoors, because that’s what I’m used to,” the Arizona native said. “I think the team will adjust well to [playing outdoors], because the guys on our team are smaller this year compared with last year, so [speed] will be key.”

The spring-break trip not only introduces the team to new conditions and scenery, it also allows for bonding time and is a chance to escape the sometimes brutal temperatures of the Midwest.

“It’s definitely a trip I look forward,” said senior Jonas Dierckx. “I’ve had some of my best memories from spring break [with the team]. We’ve been to Florida, California, and Texas [since I’ve been here]. It’s just nice to go somewhere else and not always be in the same area.”

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