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Men's tennis rides momentum, wins regional matchup

BY BLAKE DOWSON | FEBRUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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In what felt like a budding rivalry match, the Iowa men’s tennis team beat Wichita State on Feb. 20 to improve its record to 7-1.

The Hawkeyes and Shockers battled closely in every match, but Iowa ultimately came out on top 4-2.

“This was our biggest win of the year,” interim head coach Ross Wilson said. “[The Shockers] have been conference champs two years in a row, and they’ve played in the NCAA Tournament. They’re battle-tested and very experienced.”

After dropping the doubles points against BYU and Utah in recent matches, Wilson decided to change the doubles lineup for the Hawkeyes.

The change worked out for Iowa, as they won the doubles point with wins from senior Matt Hagan and freshman Lefteris Theodorou at No. 1 against the No. 20 nationally ranked doubles pairing from Wichita State and junior Dom Patrick and freshman Josh Silverstein at No. 3.

Freshmen Stieg Martens and Jake Jacoby had their match abandoned at No. 2 doubles.

“I felt like we were getting a little stale in doubles,” Wilson said. “I liked Lefty and Matt together, and Dom and Josh played well together in the fall. I think winning that No. 1 doubles match was the difference.”

The singles matches were as close as they could get, with both teams going back and forth in grabbing momentum.

Martens was first to finish singles, dropping his match (6-3, 6-4) at No. 4 to knot the team scores at 1.

Silverstein was next to finish for the Hawkeyes at No. 5 in one of the most exciting matches of the night. Silverstein came back from a 4-1 deficit in his first set to force a tiebreak, winning the tiebreak 7-5 to win the set (7-6). He went on to win the second set (7-6) in a tiebreaker as well to seal the win.

“Josh is really starting to hit his stride,” Wilson said. “He’s playing really well, and he’s on a good winning streak.”

Theodorou  won his No. 3 matchup in a back-and-forth manner (6-3, 4-6, 6-4)  to move the score to 3-1 in favor of the Hawkeyes.

Jake Jacoby, in another close match, could not quite hold on to seal the win for the Hawkeyes. Finishing just minutes before Hagan, Jacoby lost (4-6, 6-4, 6-4).

With Jacoby dropping his match and the team score 3-2, it opened the door for Hagan to clinch the victory for Iowa against the No. 38 singles player in the nation.

Hagan dropped a close first set (6-4), but came back and won the second set (6-3) to force a third and deciding set. Hagan hit big shot after big shot to close out the win (7-5) and seal the victory for Iowa.

“That win was huge for me,” Hagan said. “I knew he was a beatable guy, and I really needed that one to help my ranking out. I’m really happy with how I played.”

Patrick’s No. 2 matchup was abandoned in the third set, with Patrick leading (6-7, 7-6, [2-0]).

“Top to bottom, the guys fought so hard tonight,” Wilson said. “All six guys battled, and that’s why we came out on top. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”

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


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