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Talcott’s injury brings lineup changes, losses, and experience to younger players

BY JOSH HICKS | APRIL 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Hawkeye women’s tennis team has seen its share of struggles this season after losing senior and No. 1 singles player Shelby Talcott to injury after the match against Drake on March 25.

Talcott had been 10-3 in singles before going out. The Hawkeyes were 7-6 with her in the lineup, and they have gone 1-4 since she was sidelined.

“It’s tough to lose your No. 1 player, especially when she’d been winning,” Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty said.

Senior Morven McCulloch has stepped in at the No. 1 spot since Talcott’s injury. Originally playing at the No. 2 spot, she was 3-5. She has gone 2-3 since stepping in at No. 1.

Despite Iowa’s struggles with winning after losing Talcott, there is a silver lining. Younger players are getting experience at higher positions in the lineup, invaluable for a team that will graduate four seniors at the end of the season.

“We’re losing four players who have consistently been in the lineup, so it’s going to be a big change,” freshman Zoe Douglas said. “I’m just lucky to have the chance to play now so that it can help me next year.”

Douglas originally broke into the singles lineup at No. 6 while Talcott was still playing. After going 4-1 at No. 6, she moved to No. 5 after Talcott’s injury, at which she went 1-0, and then to No. 4, at which she is 1-1.

She’s glad to have the opportunity to do everything she can to help the team and to learn every day.
“I’m just happy to be playing,” Douglas said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to help put that point on the board.”

Filling McCulloch’s shoes at the No. 2 spot is another freshman, Anastasia Reimchen. She started the season at No. 2 but was bumped down to the No. 3 spot in favor of McCulloch after going 2-3.

Reimchen’s record at the No. 3 spot was 3-5, and when Talcott went out, she moved back up to No. 2. She’s since gone 1-4 at the No. 2 spot but says the experience, while trying, has been a great opportunity.

“Players at No. 2 are always going to be really good. I feel like there’s a lot of responsibility at the No. 2 spot. It’s tough, but I enjoy it,” she said. “It’s especially teaching me how to deal with the pressure. I think getting used to it now will definitely help me next season.”

And with both McCulloch and Talcott graduating, Reimchen could very well be playing at the No. 1 spot come next year. Dougherty knows that the players are significantly better at No. 2, and she is glad Reimchen is seeing that degree of play early in her career.

“There’s a big difference between No. 3 and No. 2 in the Big Ten, and Anastasia is getting to see that level of competition,” the six-year head coach said. “It’s going to make her a better player, and hopefully, she’s able to play high in the lineup again next year.”

Sophomore Aimee Tarun didn’t see action in the lineup until Talcott went out. She’s gone 1-1 at the No. 6 spot since coming in.

Despite being frustrated at the slew of losses Iowa has had after losing Talcott, Dougherty was able to recognize that these younger players getting experience is a benefit that has come out of a bad circumstance.

“Aimee picked up that big win against Ohio State, Zoe’s done great, Anastasia is getting a lot of experience,” Dougherty said. “So yeah, sometimes out of crappy situations, good things happen.”

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


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