Iowa falters twice over the weekend, won't advance

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

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The Iowa women’s tennis team (8-13, 2-9) lost its chance at a berth in the Big Ten Championships this weekend, losing to No. 27 Northwestern, 7-0, on April 18 and No. 51 Illinois, 6-1, on Sunday.

“It’s tough to end the season with a loss, but the team played hard and battled,” Iowa head coach Katie Dougherty said in a release. “Illinois is hot right now and playing with a lot of confidence.”

Northwestern (14-6, 9-2) has been a Big Ten powerhouse for nearly two decades, winning 15 of the last 16 conference tournaments.

The Hawkeyes couldn’t find their rhythm after losing the doubles point and failed to win any sets in singles against the Wildcats.

On Sunday, Iowa traveled to Champaign, Illinois, for its final dual of the season against the Fighting Illini (14-9, 6-5). Seniors Shelby Talcott, Morven McCulloch, Katie Zordani, and Ellen Silver played their final matches as Hawkeyes.

Talcott made a return from an injury that had her out of action since the Hawkeyes played Nebraska on March 29, competing at the No. 3 doubles position over the weekend with sophomore Aimee Tarun on April 18 and Silver on Sunday.

Zordani was the only Hawkeye to come out with a win over the weekend, defeating Illinois’ Madie Baillon (6-3, 6-4).

That loss ended any chance of Iowa competing in the Big Ten Championships. Only the top-10 teams in the conference advance to the championships, and with the Hawks finishing 12th, they did not make the cut.

The Hawkeyes dropped six matches in a row to end the season. While that was in part because Talcott missed extended time, it still probably does not sit well with Dougherty.

She still plans on taking something away from this season.

“There’s a lot to take from this season, to build on and to learn from,” Dougherty said in a release.

Talcott, McCulloch, and Zordani were in the lineup for the vast majority of the season and losing them will leave a fairly large gap in the lineup for next year.

The only returning underclassmen who saw action consistently this season were junior Annette Dohanics and freshmen Anastasia Reimchen and Zoe Douglas. Tarun has gotten some valuable playing time in the lineup late in the season.

Dohanics was a rock, playing at the No. 4 and No. 3 spots all year. Douglas started her singles career off at No. 6 and worked her way up the lineup to No. 4 by the season’s end.

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

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