April 2018

Issue link: http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/i/962472

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 188

31 T he University of Iowa men's tennis team has seen success on the doubles courts this season. e Hawkeyes boast three tandems with records above .500 and the team has won the doubles point in 16-of-21 matches — all while starting three freshmen. "It's not the norm for a Division I college tennis team to start three freshmen," said Iowa head coach Ross Wilson. "ose guys have worked hard all season and have natural doubles skills. at is why they have transitioned so quickly." Junior Jonas Larsen and sophomore Kareem Allaf lead the way on court one with a No. 70 national ranking and an 11-6 record. "e experience of playing together has helped those guys tremendously," Wilson said. "ey both have grown so much. ey played a lot of close matches last year that they were unable to finish. ey are making a lot more first serves, they also improved their volleys, and put the ball away when needed." Following by example might be the biggest surprise of the year for the Hawkeyes: freshmen Will Davies and Piotr Smietana. ese two have ascended to an ITA top-40 ranking in just their seventh month on campus. More impressively, Davies and Smietana went on an 11-match win streak from Jan. 29 through March 18. Along the way, they handed Oregon's 16th-ranked doubles team of omas Laurent and Cormac Clissold just their third loss. "We controlled the match from the beginning, so we were able to dictate play," said Davies. "Beating the No. 16 team in the country was a great moment for us. I was happy to be a part of something that special." Allaf and Larsen have also played their way into the ITA rankings, owning a 4-2 record versus ranked foes. e duo posted two wins over ranked opponents last weekend, bouncing the 47th- ranked team from Illinois and No. 56 tandem from Northwestern. ey also downed the 17th-ranked team from Dartmouth in February. In doubles, one of the keys to having success is chemistry. "Jonas and I played last year in my freshman season," Allaf said. "It was tough at first to acclimate to doubles, but we played a lot to get together and we were able to find out that we were good and what we needed to work on. We learned a lot moving forward and that has made us better on and off the court." Iowa is 11-5 when winning the doubles point. If the team wants to accomplish its goal of earning an NCAA Tournament berth, it knows what needs to be done. "e doubles point is crucial in a dual match," Wilson said. "It's tough to beat another team four out of six times in singles, so if you can get the doubles point, all you have to do is split singles. I think with an exception of two matches, we have done a great job coming out of the gates and playing good doubles." APRIL SCHEDULE 6 at Dayton at Ohio State 8 at Penn State 13 Indiana 15 Purdue 21 at Michigan 22 at Michigan State 26-29 Big Ten Tournament (Iowa City, Iowa)

Articles in this issue

view archives of HAWK TALK - April 2018