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Hagan a rock for tennis Hawkeyes

BY CHARLIE GREEN | OCTOBER 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa men’s tennis senior Matt Hagan is the most experienced player the Hawkeyes have, and it has showed so far this fall.

“Right now, I feel as if I can beat anyone in the country,” he said. “I can go into in single match and come out with a victory.”

Hagan is fresh off one of the best performances in school history in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Tournament, which wrapped Oct. 13. At the tournament, he became the third Hawkeye ever to reach the semifinals, in which he lost in three sets to Oklahoma’s Alex Alvarez, the No. 3 player in the country.

“My game plan was to hit big serves, follow up with forehands, and then finish at the net,” Hagan said. “I think [I] was aggressive in sticking with that, and that’s what led to the success.”

Before giving Alvarez all he could handle, Hagan strung together four victories in main-draw singles. In the quarterfinals, he defeated the No. 37 player in the country, Alan Salibasic of Drake.

“He knows exactly what his game is; he’s comfortable with it,” head coach Ross Wilson said. “He doesn’t really have to think anymore; things are just happening for him.”

Hagan has stood out for the Hawkeyes in tournament play, but he was quick to point out he is not the only one who’s had an impressive fall. He’s right.

“I think Dom Patrick has been playing real well,” Hagan said. “He lost to the No. 2 seed in the tournament but really pushed him to his limits. I think Dom’s right there in every match.”

The junior from Gilbert, Arizona, also brings much needed experience to the young team. Coming off a strong sophomore season, his success is no surprise to Wilson.

“He’s a guy who stuck around and worked hard all summer, so we’re glad to see him having success,” Wilson said.

The two experienced vets have been a strong point for the young group to this point, but freshman Jake Jacoby has looked like anything but a newcomer for the Hawkeyes in fall play.

“We didn’t know what to expect from Jake this year,” Wilson said. “Being a freshman, we weren’t sure if he was going to need some time to develop. He’s come in and won matches in every single tournament.”

The Little Rock, Arkansas, native played himself into the first round of the singles main-draw bracket at the regionals, where he lost to Jack Hamburg of Minnesota. He also reached the quarterfinals in the doubles main-draw bracket with fellow freshman Josh Silverstein.

“Being seeded kind of sets expectations on you, which I hadn’t dealt with yet this fall,” Jacoby said. “I thought I dealt with it pretty well.”

The reliability of Hagan and Patrick appears to be a staple of this team, and Jacoby has exceeded expectations of a freshman in fall play so far. Still, the results of the team as a whole are far from where they could be.

“Overall, we’ve got three guys who are playing well and getting results,” Wilson said. “But we have another five guys who are close, and this it what the fall season’s all about. We’re getting a lot of matches in and working on our weaknesses so we can be ready come January.”

Follow @CharlsGreen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s tennis team.


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