March 2014

Issue link: http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/i/268300

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 60

49 C hange is easy to adapt to for University of Iowa tennis players Morven McCulloch and Ruth Seaborne, especially aer having a full year of playing together in the books. At the beginning of the 2014 season, the Intercol- legiate Tennis Association implemented an experi- mental rule change in an attempt to shorten the length of matches. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 10, NCAA doubles matches were decided by one set, played to six points. Prior to this season, the doubles matches were eight-game sets. e abbreviated finish raised awareness on the court, and nearly eliminated any margin for error. "Having less time to close a match makes it that much more important to get off to a good start," said Seaborne. "You have to be ready from the get- go." UI head coach Katie Dougherty feels the trial for- mat played into the strengths of Iowa's top doubles team. "With an explosive team like Ruth and Morven, I don't think it affected them as much as maybe some other teams," said Dougherty. "It helped prepare them in the sense that they know they have to get off to fast starts because there was not much room for error. I think it really helped prepare them for the rest of the season." In 2012-13, McCulloch and Seaborne's first year at the top of the lineup, the duo posted a 16-7 record, including a 9-1 record out of conference. ey reached as high as No. 34 in the ITA rankings, defeating the No. 13 and No. 36 ranked teams along the way. ose wins built confidence and looked sexy on the resume, but at the end of the season the total pack- age wasn't enough to extend the schedule beyond the conference championships. eir season ended at the Big Ten Tournament with a respectable 16-7 record. Seaborne says the lessons learned a year ago, com- bined with a challenging nonconference schedule in 2014, should breed success for the upcoming Big Ten schedule. "Last year we had a very successful season," said Seaborne, who earned All-Big Ten honors a year ago. "is year we have played some very tough doubles teams already. We haven't been as success- ful so far this season, but that doesn't mean we won't be successful come Big Ten play." A solid run through the Big Ten could lead to a postseason berth, but Seaborne is not resting on solid. "We've been working extremely hard in practice and we want to go undefeated in Big Ten play," said Seaborne, "and of course it would be amazing to get into the NCAA tournament." McCulloch says their past experience will ultimately prove to be advantageous on the court. "We know each other's exact strengths and weak- nesses," said McCulloch. "Ruth is good at the back and I am good at the net, so we use that to our advantage. We bounce off each other during match- es… that is how we win." Seaborne and McCulloch entered this year ranked No. 28 and took second in the Gold Flight Doubles bracket at the Gopher Invitational this past fall. eir trip to the ITA All-American Championships was highlighted by a victory over Auburn's 23rd- ranked Jen Pfiefler and Jackie Kasler. is spring, Seaborne and McCulloch own a 5-2 record, including a 6-2 victory over No. 50 Whitney Ritchie and Mia Lancaster of Oklahoma. "ere is no match they are not going to be in," said Dougherty. "Ruth and Morven have the ability to beat very good teams. ey have done a great job so far and need to continue." Dynamic Duo Adjust on the Fly By Sam Stych

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of HAWK TALK - March 2014