Zordani ready to get back at if for Hawkeyes

BY JOSH HICKS | JANUARY 29, 2015 5:00 AM

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Katie Zordani became a Hawkeye in 2012. Now in her final season, and fully recovered after an off-the-court injury that left her with a dislocated elbow last spring, she is ready to amplify the summation of her already impressive college career.

In her freshman year, Zordani lettered and recorded a combined total of more than 20 wins in singles and doubles play. She earned the team’s Grinder Award, given to the player who contributes consistently to the team through hard work and dedication.

As a sophomore, she competed as high as the No. 3 position and went 2-0 at the Big Ten championships.

As a junior, Zordani finished unbeaten while playing at the No. 3 singles position, recording a 3-0 record while in that spot. That elbow dislocation happened roughly halfway through the season and head coach Katie Dougherty said it was “horrendous.”

Astonishingly enough, however, Zordani was back playing matches in approximately four weeks.

“When it happened, she only sat out for a month before she was back in and hitting one-handed backhands,” Dougherty said. “She came back and won some big matches for us at the end of the season.”

Zordani’s own words on the subject make it clear that she’s a true competitor.

“It was my left elbow, so I had to swing underhand and slice every backhand,” the senior said. “There isn’t a lot of power in that kind of play, and it’s not really my style.”

She earned the team’s Iron Hawk Award during her junior year, and proved that her dedication to the team’s success, resiliency, and her intensity for competition are of the highest degree.

This is evident to those new to the program as well. Assistant coach Denise Dy, who is new to the program has witnessed the leadership qualities Zordani consistently exhibits.

“I’ve only gotten to know her for the last few months, and just in that time, I already know she’s a great fighter and she brings it every single day,” Dy said. “When the freshmen and sophomores see her intensity in practice, I think it really translates.”

The head coach agrees.

“She’s a veteran,” Dougherty said. “She’s won a lot of matches for us. The energy she gives off to the people playing around her is invaluable. The younger players look to her for guidance. She sets the tone in practice. Her intensity is always at a 10.”

Zordani is enthusiastically awaiting the beginning to the competitive team atmosphere of the new spring season, which will start Saturday against Northern Iowa at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

“Dual matches are the most fun, playing with your team, knowing that your team has your back on the court next to you,” Zordani said. “And we’re all striving to get 4 points to win team match.”

Zordani is a determined Hawkeye with a true team-driven mindset, and Dougherty is proud to have her at Iowa.

“She’s a true leader,” Dougherty said. “Every coach wants one of her on their team; every coach wants a Katie Z.”

Follow @joshhicks90 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s tennis team.

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