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Iowa set to host Nebraska

BY JORDAN BUCHER | APRIL 09, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis team will host No. 66 Nebraska today at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex, and the match has extra weight for more than one reason.

“One thing that will be nice about the match [today] is that it's later, which in all the years I’ve been here, we haven’t played a match under the lights,” said head coach Steve Houghton, who is in his 33rd year at the helm. “We are playing every [team] much, much tougher than we did last year. It’s another match that we certainly have a chance to win.”

The Hawkeyes are on a six-game losing streak, most recently suffering a 4-3 loss to No. 69 Indiana on Sunday afternoon.

The doubles point proved costly in that defeat. Iowa and Indiana were tied at one match apiece in doubles play, with the No. 3 match of seniors Chase Tomlins and Joey White left to decide the point. The Hawkeyes had a 6-3 advantage in the match, but Indiana’s duo of Chris Essick and Stefan Lugonjic came from behind to force the match into a tiebreaker. The Hoosiers came away with the doubles point after winning the tiebreaker, 7-3.

Houghton stressed the importance of winning the doubles point against Nebraska.

Senior Brian Alden agreed with the coach and said his loss in doubles carried over into his singles match.

“It helps to win my doubles match because the momentum carries through and gives me more confidence heading into singles,” he said. “Whenever we win the doubles point, we have more success in singles, and we usually give ourselves a better chance of winning the overall match. That will be the key for us against Nebraska.”

On April 5, Nebraska (10-10, 2-4) defeated Indiana in a dominating 6-1 decision. The Cornhuskers are led by Dusty Boyer at the No. 1 singles position, who posted the only team win in the match against No. 33 Purdue in their most recent contest, on Sunday.

Iowa junior Matt Hagan feels an extra competitive edge going into the matchup against the Cornhuskers. 

“When I chose between schools, it came down to Iowa and Nebraska, so it’ll be extra special for me to get a win at home against them,” the Nebraska native said. “It’ll be a tough, tough matchup; every single guy on their team is competitive and a good player in the Big Ten.”

It’s no doubt the Hawkeyes will have to come ready to play against the Cornhuskers, and coming off the match against Indiana, the key to success will be winning the doubles point and carrying the momentum through to singles.

“[Tuesday’s] practice was really good,” Houghton said. “I think the thing that remains is just getting over the hump to win some matches. [Wednesday] is certainly a day for that to happen.”


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