February 2016

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Page 190 of 212

191 F or most students, winter break is a time to rest and relax with friends and family. For members of the University of Iowa men's ten- nis team, it's time to prepare. UI sophomore Josh Silverstein took the court at the APTC Prize Money Championships on Dec. 23 in New York, where he defeated Mark Oljaca in the final match, 6-0, 6-0. "Most players take it easy over winter break, but I went out and played 13 matches," Silverstein said. ree days later Silverstein en- tered the USTA National Men's Indoor Championships at the U.S. Open courts in Flushing Meadows, New York. Silverstein again advanced to the finals, where he lost to Shawn Hadabi of Stanford, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1. Even though he placed second, Silverstein still received a silver ball and accomplished a life-long goal. "It was a great honor to receive the silver ball at the end of the tournament," Silverstein said. "Ev- ery tennis player from the U.S. dreams of getting one of these balls and they all know the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to receive one." Silverstein plans to use those accomplishments as motivators and he is confident that his hard will provide an advantage going into the spring season. e sophomore wasn't the only Hawkeye using his time away from school to focus on tennis. Class- mate Jake Jacoby and freshman Tony Leto compet- ed as doubles partners at the Walter Herrick Men's Open in Crystal Lake, Illinois. "Playing over the break was essential to staying in shape," said Jacoby, "It's one thing to practice and hit balls, but the fact that I got to play actual matches is key to that start of the year." Playing doubles over the break also gave Jacoby a chance to test his leadership skills on the court. "Jake has been a good role model for me. He gets it done day-in-and-day-out on the court and outside of tennis," said Leto, "Over the break he motivat- ed me to train hard." Freshman Kareen Allaf traveled home to Dubai over break and like his teammates, he chose not to be idle during his time off. Allaf played with some of the sport's top athletes and gained experience and motivation from the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic, ranked No. 10 and No. 14 in the world. "It was a different level and they were hitting at a different pace — much faster and harder than we hit by a long shot. I worked a lot on my physical game," said Allaf, "I'm ready for my team to do well this season and to compete in future tourna- ments." Aer their month of winning tournaments and learning from some the game's top players, the Hawkeyes are ready to get back to their teammates and start the spring season. "We are all excited for our season to begin and every single one of us is putting in the proper work necessary for us to win and accomplish our team's goals," said Silverstein. FEBRUARY SCHEDULE Feb. 5 SIU-Edwardsville Western Michigan Feb. 14 at Middle Tennessee State Feb. 21 at Wichita State Feb. 26 IUPUI Denver

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