Fireball on the tennis court

BY JOSH HICKS | MARCH 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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Hawkeye junior Annette Dohanics comes from a tennis background, and that is part of what helped to land her at Iowa. She’s a Pittsburgh native, and while head coach Katie Dougherty was coaching at Penn State, there was another Dohanics playing for her, Annette’s older sister, Dorothy.

“Her sister played for me at Penn State, and they’re a great family,” Dougherty said. “There are a lot of similar characteristics running through the women in that family. They’re all tough.”

Dohanics’ mother, Eva Toth, played tennis in Europe, and her younger sister, Isabelle, recently committed to Ball State.

“I’ve known Coach Dougherty for a while, and she’s always been a great influence on my tennis,” Annette Dohanics said. “She was a big factor in my decision to come here, but on my visit I loved the girls, I loved the team, and the atmosphere was great. Apart from that, the wardrobe change was easy: A solid black and yellow to a solid black and yellow. This is definitely my favorite place to be.”

Dohanics had a huge comeback win that secured the Hawkeye’s victory over Kansas State on Sunday. Dougherty described Dohanics as being a great competitor and well-known clincher in tight situations.

“She knows how to win,” Dougherty said. “She thrives in pressure situations.”

There’s no doubt that when she’s on the court, she’s fierce. There is a drive, a motive to win that is undeniably present every time she comes out to play.

When she scores a big point after a long volley or if she breaks her opponent’s serve a powerful triumphant yell of “yeah” or “let’s go” will reverberate throughout the tennis complex.

“You always know what you’re going to get from Netty out on the court,” Dougherty said, “She battles.”

Her intensity and competitive fire burn with vivid flames on the court. In interviews, though, she’s reserved and candid. She takes her time and always speaks calmly and precisely about the outcome of the match, whether victory or loss.

“She’s very calm and very soft-spoken, sometimes,” said first-year assistant coach Denise Dy. “But when she gets out on the court, she lays it all on the line, and I think that is what’s great about her as a competitor. She’s not afraid; she’s courageous.”

Dohanics doesn’t deny that she has a reserved personality. She’s thoughtful and intelligent when articulating her thoughts. Perhaps this comes from her pursuits as a biology major and always having to be concise and accurate.

Whatever the reason for her placid surface off the court, she knows as well as anyone what she turns into when she suits up to play.

“I’ve always been quiet and soft-spoken,” she said. “But once I start competing, I don’t know, I’ve been compared to being a whole different person — it’s the intensity of the game. I don’t like to lose.”
“I’m out there competing, especially for my teammates. And I’m definitely trying to get that point on the board any way possible.”

Dougherty’s thoughts are very similar.

“She’ll do everything in her power to win,” the sixth-year head coach said. “She’s been a great Hawkeye. She’s just someone I know that every time we put her out there, that’s a point we could have against anybody. She’s been someone we can rely on for three years now.”

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

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