Women’s tennis to face No. 59 Minnesota, Wisconsin over weekend

BY JOSH HICKS | APRIL 03, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team (8-7, 2-3) is scheduled to travel to Minneapolis on Saturday and Madison, Wisconsin, on April 5 for a weekend featuring conference matches against the No. 59 Gophers and the Badgers.

Iowa is coming off a 4-3 home victory on Sunday against Nebraska in which a lot of things went right for the Hawks.

Despite the lineup changes because No. 1 singles and doubles player Shelby Talcott was sidelined with an injury, Iowa found a way to win the doubles point and three first sets in singles, which helped to secure a victory for the Hawks.

Senior Morven McCulloch was impressed with the Hawkeyes’ ability to adjust to the circumstances given Talcott’s injury. She stepped in at the No. 1 singles spot to fill Talcott’s shoes.

“We had two freshmen pull through to clinch the match for us against Nebraska, which was awesome,” McCulloch said. “Everyone adapted really well to the changes in the doubles and singles lineups and pulled her weight.”

Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty wouldn’t comment on the Talcott’s status. Official lineups aren’t revealed until the day of the contest, and Dougherty is not commenting is a strategic move on her part.

No. 59 Minnesota (13-6, 3-2) recently defeated Maryland. The Gophers were ranked at No. 69 heading into the match and Maryland was sitting at No. 53. Minnesota won, 4-3, despite an inability to win the doubles point.

Minnesota holds the edge against Iowa in the all-time series, 36-21, and the Gophers triumphed last season in Minneapolis, 6-1. Iowa’s last victory in the series was in 2013, when they hosted the match and came away with a 6-1 victory.

Iowa has not won in Minneapolis since 2008, when it was riding a six-game win streak and beat the then No. 54 ranked Gophers, 6-1, to make it seven in a row.

In the all-time series against the Badgers, Wisconsin (8-7, 2-3) has the upper hand by a margin of 38-9. Iowa has dropped four in a row to the Badgers; its most recent victory came in 2010, when they won, 5-2, in Madison. Last year, Wisconsin defeated Iowa, 4-3.

The Badgers are coming off a victory on Sunday against Rutgers, 6-1, and a win over No. 47 Maryland on March 28.

Before that, Wisconsin dropped three in a row to ranked opponents ­— No. 13 Michigan, No. 44 Michigan State, and No. 59 Minnesota.

This will be freshman Anastasia Reimchen’s first meeting against the two schools. She stepped up huge at Nebraska to win at the No. 2 singles spot and helped to clinch the doubles point for the Hawks with teammate sophomore Aimee Tarun.

“I’ve never faced them before,” the freshman said. “But I’ve heard they’re pretty decent teams. I think as long as we compete and fight as well as we did last weekend, we’ve got a good chance against both of them.”

After its win over Nebraska on March 29, Iowa is sitting at No. 9 among the 14 teams in the Big Ten. Indiana is just ahead of Iowa in the standings, and Wisconsin is just below. Both of those teams have the same conference record as the Hawkeyes.

Needless to say, winning both of these matches over the weekend would do wonders for Iowa’s position in the conference.

Outside of Michigan (15-3, 7-0) and Ohio State (14-4, 7-0), there are a myriad of teams with similar standing in the conference that are fighting each other tooth and nail for a spot in the tournament.

“This is a huge weekend for us,” Dougherty said. “Our goal is to get to the Big Ten tournament, and only 10 teams do that, so we need to be on top of our game. We’ve got to hit the road, be tough, be resilient, and take it to them.”

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