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Iowa men's tennis splits weekend matches

BY BLAKE DOWSON | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis team (10-5, 2-2) split a pair of matches with Michigan and the Michigan State over the weekend at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

The Hawkeyes won in thrilling fashion on March 27 against the Wolverines (3-10, 0-3), coming from behind to win, 4-3, even though they dropped the doubles point for the third time this year in conference play.

“That’s what it’s all about,” interim head coach Ross Wilson said. “That’s why our guys are at Iowa, that’s why you play tennis.”

The win was just the ninth in school history against Michigan, and in a season in which the Hawkeyes are trying to buck many of the trends set by past Iowa teams, beating Michigan was a good step.

“Anytime you beat Michigan in any sport, it’s awesome,” Wilson, an Ohio State graduate, said. “The guys played great tonight. The freshmen played outstanding.”

The freshmen trio of Lefteris Theodorou, Josh Silverstein, and Jake Jacoby all registered three-set, come-from-behind victories. Silverstein clinched the team win with his victory.

“Clinching the win for the team was amazing,” Silverstein said. “It was the best feeling, to see my teammates and coaches so happy.”

Senior Matt Hagan also registered a decisive win at No. 1 for Iowa.

Both teams took turns grabbing the momentum throughout the match but Iowa, and Silverstein, took it for good.

“When Jake won, that was a huge swing for us,” assistant coach Ty Schaub said. “When he won, Josh got it back to 2-2 in the third, and he didn’t miss a ball after that.”

Wilson said he was extremely happy with the effort he got out of his freshmen in the win, noting the way they pushed back after dropping their first sets.

The magic of the Michigan win did not transition to Sunday, as the Spartans topped the Hawkeyes, 4-3.

Iowa grabbed the doubles point against the Spartans (11-10, 2-2) but could not hit enough shots during its singles matches to seal the win.

“Things didn’t necessarily go wrong for us,” Wilson said. “Things just went right for them. They’ve got seniors in key spots, guys with experience. They took it from us today.”

Silverstein was again a bright spot in the lineup for the Hawkeyes, winning in straight sets (6-3, 6-3).
Silverstein, who also leads the team in wins, moved his individual record to 12-3.

“Josh was great again today,” Schaub said. “He brings a lot of energy to his matches. He’s hitting it really well right now. He does all the right things on the court.”

Theodorou was the only other Hawkeye to record a singles win against Michigan State to improve his record to 11-4.

Hagan dropped his match at No. 1 after winning his first set because of what Wilson called a lack of focus.

In a match that was Iowa’s for the taking, it missed a golden opportunity to move its conference record to 3-1. If the team is serious about making a run at the NCAA Tournament, matches against teams such as Michigan State must go in the win column.

“Before the year, when we were setting goals, we had Michigan State circled as a must-win,” Wilson said. “We’re definitely leaving today with a bad taste in our mouth.”

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


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