Women's tennis to play Kansas after tough loss to No. 21 Purdue

BY JOSH HICKS | MARCH 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team lost its Big Ten conference-opener, 5-2, to No. 21 Purdue on Feb. 28.

Purdue took victories at the No.1 and No. 2 slots in doubles to win the first point of the dual, and head coach Katie Dougherty wasn’t pleased with the performance.

“I was disappointed with our doubles,” she said. “I don’t think we executed as well as we could have.”

At No. 1 doubles play, senior Shelby Talcott and freshman Anastasia Reimchen found themselves down 3-0 early. The two fought back to tie the match at 3.

However, Purdue’s Daniela Vidal and Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum defeated the lefty-duo of Talcott and Reimchen (8-4).

Senior Morven McCulloch and freshman Zoe Douglas paired up to face Natalia Davila and Lynda Xepoleas at No. 2 doubles. They didn’t fare particularly well and lost the match (8-2).

Hawk senior Katie Zordani and junior Annette Dohanics were losing (5-3) at No. 3 when Purdue clinched the doubles point and ended their match prematurely.

The 2 points earned by Iowa in the dual came from Dohanics at No. 4 singles and McCulloch at No. 2 singles.

McCulloch won the first set of her match against Bernard-Feigenbaum (6-4). The set was tied at 1, 2, 3, and 4 games before McCulloch pulled away, winning two games in a row.

The senior found herself in trouble early in the second set, down 3-0 and then 1-4.

“It was hard to break serve on both of us,” McCulloch said. “She broke me quickly, and I ended-up going down 4-1.”

She said Dohanics’ playing on the court next to her gave her the momentum to swing the second set back into her favor.

“Netty was playing on the court next to me, fighting away, and I used all that energy to focus on getting one break,” McCulloch said. “It gives you a lot of confidence to have your teammates fighting around you.”

McCulloch won (6-4, 7-5).

Dohanics faced Purdue’s Andjela Djokovic at No. 4 singles. The junior won the first set (6-4). Djokovic took the second (6-2).

Dohanics got off to an early lead in the third set, going up 3-0. Djokovic fought back and took a 4-3 lead, but Dohanics shut her down and took a 6-4 victory to secure the match.

Zordani lost an all-out battle at No. 5 singles to Purdue’s Nicole Robinson. The first set was tied at four, five, and six games, which forced a tiebreaker game.

Robinson took the first set (7-6), and Zordani took the second in another tiebreaker (7-6). However, Robinson ultimately won the match in the tiebreaking third set (10-7).

This gave Purdue the 5-2 win in the dual.

Dougherty wants to see the same energy she saw in Zordani’s, Dohanics’, and McCulloch’s play on all six courts at once.

“Z, Morven, and Netty were the heart and soul of our team today,” the sixth-year head coach said. “I’m really happy with the way they competed. But we have to have six show up every single day and play like that.”

McCulloch had similar thoughts.

“They’re a top-25 team, and that was nearly a 4-3 loss,” the senior said. “We’re right there. We just need to all come out and play our best on the same day.”

Directly after the Purdue dual, Dohanics looked ahead to this afternoon.

“It was a tough loss for us,” the junior said. “We all battled out there, and hopefully, we can turn it around and get the win against Kansas.”

Iowa is scheduled to travel to Lawrence to face the Jayhawks in a nonconference dual at 3 p.m. today. Kansas is coming off a pair of losses to teams ranked in the top 70: a 4-2 loss to No. 68 Colorado and a dual in which it lost, 6-1, against No. 64 Denver.

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

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