Hawkeyes split to end regular season

BY JOSH HICKS | APRIL 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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The No. 66 Iowa men’s tennis team split matches with No. 51 Penn State and Chicago State at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex in a double-header on Sunday.

The Hawkeyes fell to the Nittany Lions, 4-2, and beat Chicago State, 7-0.

These were the last two matches of the regular season for Iowa (13-10, 4-7); the team will head into the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, set to begin Thursday.

“It feels pretty good. We can all finish the season with a good taste in our mouths,” Andres Estenssoro said after his win at No. 6 singles over Chicago State.

Penn State, the final Big Ten opponent of the season for Iowa, was the first match of the day. The Nittany Lions came out firing on all cylinders and secured the doubles point to put the Hawks down, 1-0.

The No. 2 doubles team of freshman Josh Silverstein and junior Dom Patrick had only suffered one loss on the season coming into the match against Penn State. The duo lost to Penn State’s Matt Barry and Michael Reilly (8-5). The pair of players finished the season with a record of 7-2 overall, 6-2 in Big Ten matches.

“I didn’t think we played with much energy in doubles, and they played well,” Iowa head coach Ross Wilson said. “They beat our No. 2 team, who has won for us all year long, and I think that was a big win for them.”

After losing in doubles, the Hawkeyes dropped two more matches in singles to go down 3-0.

Hagan, ranked No. 117 nationally, was up against No. 123 Leonard Stakhovsky. The first set was close, but the second set wasn’t, and Hagan defeated Stakhovsky (7-5, 6-3).

Freshman Lefteris Theodorou secured a win for the Hawkeyes over Penn State’s Alex Fennell at the No. 2 position (6-1, 5-7, 6-3). The freshman went up 5-2 in the second set but couldn’t close out the match and dropped five games in a row to lose the set.

With the match tied at a set apiece, Theodorou took the win in the third. In his match against Chicago State, he was forced into a tiebreaker to win his match, the last one being played.

Wilson was glad to see Theodorou secure victories in both matches but also wants to see him close out matches earlier.

“He got his money’s worth today. I think he made things much harder on himself than he had to, and we’re trying to work with him on that,” Wilson said. “That’s just being immature and being a freshman; that’s what’s going to happen.

“There are a lot of close matches and when you get the momentum or the upper-hand you’ve got to fight to keep it. That’s something he struggles with, but it was nice for him to win.”

After going 1-1 on the final day of the regular season, Iowa sets its sights on the Big Ten tournament. The official bracket has been released, and No. 8 Iowa is set to face No. 9 Wisconsin in the first round.

The Hawkeyes played Wisconsin at home this year and won, 4-3.

“We just have to keep on winning to keep the season alive,” Hagan said. “It’d be great to get a couple of tournament wins to finish our year.”

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

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