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Iowa tennis drops two over weekend

BY BLAKE DOWSON | APRIL 13, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s tennis team (8-11, 2-7) stumbled twice to teams in the top half of the Big Ten over the weekend.

The team has struggled after losing senior and No. 1 singles player Shelby Talcott to injury (1-4), and it has lost its last four matches.

After the team’s 5-2 loss to Ohio State on April 11, head coach Katie Dougherty said that she was proud of the way her team competed.

“I think we’re playing our best tennis right now,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can out there, everyone is moved up a spot, and it shows. Ohio State was just the better team at too many spots.”

Iowa battled against a talented Buckeyes team that was ranked No. 18 in the nation and second in the Big Ten heading into the match.

The Hawkeyes couldn’t get started quickly enough in doubles. They went down 2-0 (one match was abandoned) and were never able to rebound from the deficit.

The match against the No. 2 team in the conference wasn’t entirely unpropitious; the Hawkeyes experienced a bit of auspiciousness in the matches of freshman Zoe Douglas and sophomore Aimee Tarun.

Douglas’ match was a spectacle to behold. She was the first of the two to finish her match, and it was not easily won. She squared off against Ohio State’s Olivia Sneed at the No. 4 spot in singles, her first appearance at the No. 4 spot.

Douglas was able to win the first set with ease (6-2). However, she slipped a bit in her second set and allowed Sneed to push it to a tiebreaker that the Buckeye eventually won (7-6 [7-5]).

In the third set tiebreaker, Douglas came back from being down 9-3 to win (1-0 [11-9]). The freshman is 6-2 in singles play this season.

“Zoe has picked up a couple big wins for us,” Dougherty said. “She’s getting better every week and maturing as a player before our eyes.”

Tarun’s match against the Buckeyes’ Nicole Flower was a battle that exuded intensity. The sophomore started out 4-0 against Flower in the first but then dropped six straight games and the set (6-4).

Tarun fought back in a gritty spectacle of a second set and won 6-4 to push a third-set tiebreaker. In the breaker, Tarun came out on top for Iowa (1-0, [10-6]).

On Sunday, Senior Day, the Hawkeyes faced a feisty Penn State team that was ranked No. 64.

Iowa started off with a loss at No. 3 doubles, but senior Morven McCulloch and junior Annette Dohanics earned a victory at the No. 1 spot against Penn State’s Katia Bilk and Victoria Kisialeva (8-3) to even the doubles score at 1-1.

The Nittany Lions took the final doubles win at the No. 2 spot to secure the first point in the match.

Senior Ellen Silver then won her singles match against Penn State’s Taylor Shukow (6-2, 6-1).

Fellow senior Katie Zordani soon followed with a victory of her own against Jacqueline Zuhse (6-3, 6-1) to give Iowa a 2-1 lead.

Penn State then took victories at the No. 2, No. 4, and No. 1 spots, giving it a 4-2 lead and securing the win.

Iowa’s Dohanics won No. 3 singles, defeating Kimberley-Ann Surin in a third-set tiebreaker (3-6, 6-4, [10-5]). The Hawks ultimately fell to the Nittany Lions in a hard fought match, 4-3.

The Hawkeyes finished their season at home with these last two matches and ended with a record of 6-6 at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. They will play their last two matches of the season on the road next weekend.

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


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