Hawkeyes to Host No. 1 Illinois

March 1, 2004

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This Week: The Iowa men’s tennis team will face the nation’s best competition Saturday when it hosts top-ranked Illinois. Competition is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Recreation Building. Admission is free.

The Fighting Illini: Defending national champion Illinois is undefeated this season with a 12-0 record. The Illini currently hold a 44-match winning streak and are one win shy of tying the all-time record held by Stanford. Five of Illinois’ top six singles players are ranked nationally. Leading the way are Phil Stolt (#20), Brian Wilson (#23), Michael Calkins (#54), Chris Martin (#67) and Ryler Deheart (#100). Stolt and Wilson are the eighth-ranked doubles team and Calkins and Martin are ranked 18th. In February, the Illini were crowned ITA National Indoor champions. Illinois is coached by Craig Tiley who is in his 11th season.

Iowa-Illinois Series: Illinois holds a 47-21 advantage over Iowa. Last year the Illini defeated Iowa (7-0) in Champaign.

Hawkeyes Fall to Drake: Iowa faced tough competition in a 7-0 loss to instate rival Drake at the Drake Tennis Center. The Hawkeyes lost all three doubles contests and were unable to claim a point in singles competition. Iowa’s closest match came in the No. 1 match where sophomore Chaitu Malempati lost a 7-6 first set tiebreak to Felipe Montenegro and fell in the second set, 6-4.

Delgado Named Big Ten Player of the Week: Freshman Sebastian Delgado was named Big Ten Player of the Week for his performance in Iowa’s wins over Marquette and Indiana State. Delgado went 2-0 in singles competition at the No. 2 position. He defeated Marquette’s Eigis Vedrickas without losing a game in the 6-0, 6-0 win. Delgado also teamed with sophomore Parker Ross to post a 2-0 record at the No. 1 doubles position. The honor is the first for Delgado.

Dual Savior: In all three of Iowa’s wins this season, sophomore Parker Ross has claimed meet point with a victory in the No. 3 singles position. Ross is currently 3-1 in both singles and doubles dual competition.

Young No. 1: Sophomore Chaitu Malempati has played the No. 1 singles position in all seven of Iowa’s duals this season. At 19, he is the youngest Hawkeye to play in Iowa’s top position since Tyler Cleveland competed at No. 1 as a 19-year-old freshman in 1998.

Home Court Advantage: After losing its first two home meets, Iowa has put together a three-meet winning streak at the Recreation Building. The Hawkeyes have posted wins over DePaul, Marquette and Indiana State.

Head Coach: Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 23rd season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Houghton has a career record of 261-247 (.514). He became the winningest coach in Iowa tennis history in 1992 and is a member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. He has coached 15 players to 29 all-Big Ten selections including Tyler Cleveland, who became the first men’s player in Big Ten history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year twice. Four of Houghton’s athletes have also been selected Big Ten Sportsman of the Year.