Iowa bounces back on Senior Day

BY KYLE MANN | APRIL 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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It was a good day at the office for the Iowa women’s tennis team on Sunday, as the Hawkeyes bounced back from a tough loss against Ohio State on April 18 to defeat Penn State, 6-1.

The 34th-ranked Buckeyes visited Iowa City on April 18 and won the match, 6-1, including only the second victory by a Big Ten team over Iowa’s top doubles duo, Ruth Seaborne and Morven McCulloch, coming at the hands of Noelle Malley and Graine O’Neill, the No. 78 duo in the nation.

No. 75 Seaborne also had her five-match winning streak snapped at the No.1 singles position by No. 92 Gabriella De Santis (6-1, 0-6, 6-2). Sophomore Annette Dohanics captured the Hawks’ only point at the No. 5 position over Nicole Flower (7-6, 6-4).

“Ohio State is a good team,” head coach Katie Dougherty said. “We had some chances, but they’re a bit better than we are right now.”

The Hawkeyes responded admirably, however, grabbing a 6-1 victory over the Nittany Lions on Sunday, Iowa’s Senior Day.

In their first match together, the senior Seaborne and junior Ellen Silver captured a victory over Marie Bedard and Taylor Shukow at the No. 3 position, 8-4.

At the No. 2 position, Dohanics and junior Morven McCulloch defeated Carmen Sandor and Katherine Whiteaway, 8-4.

“We shook up doubles,” Dougherty said, and Iowa was able to secure the point before Shelby Talcott and Katie Zordani finished their match against Katia Blik and Dasha Sapogova.

The Hawkeyes never looked back, and they got contributions from everybody.

Freshman Aimee Tarun had no trouble at the No. 6 singles position, winning 6-0, 6-1. Dohanics also finished her second season strong with a victory by default at the No. 5 position (6-1, 4-3). She finishes with a four-match winning streak and undefeated at the No. 5 position (6-0).

For the juniors, Katie Zordani secured a victory over Shukow at the No. 4 position (6-0, 6-4). McCulloch also defeated Sandor in a tiebreaker (7-5, 5-7 [10-7]).

It was Ruth Seaborne Day, however, and the lone senior was able to end her Iowa career on top. Seaborne’s mother, Jan, was in town to see her daughter get a victory over Sapogova at the No.1 position.

After taking the first set 6-2, Seaborne won an intense second set. Once down 3-5, Seaborne came roaring back to win 7-5.

“I think she realized that today was her last two matches, and she really wanted to win and really needed to do well,” Jan Seaborne said.

She finished her best and final season at Iowa 8-3 in conference play, 15-6 overall.

“Without a doubt, I’d say, one of the top five players to ever play here,” Dougherty said in the Senior Day ceremonies.

Seaborne’s mother was excited to have made the trip from the United Kingdom, and she knew her daughter was excited as well. As only her mother could, she knew exactly what happened when Seaborne made her comeback.

 “I realized it was my last match,” she said. “I had nothing to lose.”

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