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The Iowa men's tennis team is rolling

BY BLAKE DOWNSON | FEBRUARY 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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Sitting at 6-1 after wins on the road against BYU and No. 54 Utah in Salt Lake City, the Iowa men’s tennis team has built quite a head of steam coming into its weekend matchup against Wichita State at 6 p.m. today in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreational Complex.

Iowa must be careful, however, that its does not look past Wichita State, which has been tough early in the season.

Both the Hawkeyes and the Shockers have notched wins against ranked opponents, and both are riding winning streaks.

Something has to give.

“It’s going to be really important for us to get past last weekend,” freshman Jake Jacoby said. “We beat a couple really good teams, but Wichita State is up next for us.”

Wichita State is 4-2 so far and riding a three match-winning streak. The Shockers have won matchups against Texas-San Antonio, then-No. 61 George Washington, Missouri-Kansas City, and a win by forfeit over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The Shockers do not have a bad loss on the year, their first coming against top-ranked Oklahoma and the other against No. 43 Tulsa.

“Wichita State is a big match for us,” Jacoby said. “They have some big wins on the year already. They’re in the same region as us, and it’s kind of a rivalry game.”

Continually scheduling tough matches such as Wichita State is what interim head coach Ross Wilson wanted, and the experience the Hawkeyes have gained has been helpful in their development.

“Scheduling tough helps us a ton because we know where we’re at,” senior Matt Hagan said. “Playing against some of the teams we have has been a lot like playing Big Ten matches. We gain a lot of confidence from those.”

The No. 57 duo of Hagan and junior Dom Patrick will have a chance to add a big win to their résumé, as they take on the No. 20 team of Tin Ostojic and Tomislav Gregurovic.

Jacoby believes jumping out early and getting an edge in the doubles matches will be key to picking up a win against the Shockers.

Hagan won’t get a break in his singles match. He will have his hands full at No. 1 singles against Ostojic, who has picked up two top-50 wins this season and is ranked No. 39 nationally.

Once again, the Hawkeyes rely on freshmen to carry much of the load against a Wichita State team that is much more experienced.

However, four freshmen contributing for the Hawkeyes is not exactly a burden they bear but rather an opportunity to showcase their young talent on the team.

“We know we have potential,” Hagan said. “The key now is just to play well at every position and play to that potential.”

Follow @B_Dows4 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s tennis team.


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